DeMint’s Death Panel: Refused To Support Medical Innovation For Sake Of Ideological Purity

The GOP’s instance on repealing the entire health care law would, among other things, eliminate dependent coverage for children on their parent’s plan, re-open the Medicare Part D doughnut hole and increase taxes on small businesses currently receiving tax creditits for providing health insurance coverage to their workers. Today, McClatchy Newspaper’s James Rosen reports that the Republicans’ efforts to put political ideology ahead of good policy is also jeopardizing the development of money-saving medical technology:

Dr. David Cull, a prominent vascular surgeon in Greenville, had invented a small valve system that, if it works, could spare 300,000 dialysis patients across the country enormous suffering and save U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars.

But Cull’s hometown senator, Jim DeMint, would not write a letter supporting the surgeon’s application for a federal grant under the landmark health care bill that President Barack Obama signed into law a year ago today. […] Backing a grant application under the law — even for a constituent who lives in the same Upstate town as DeMint — would leave the senator open to charges of hypocrisy, staffers say.

Cull received the $249,479 grant without DeMint’s support and believes that his device could eliminate the need for dialysis patients to “undergo 10 to 12 operations over a lifetime to treat complications from the stents.” “Such surgeries cost taxpayers a fifth — $15,000 — of the $75,000 a year the federal program pays per person with acute kidney failure.” “This is money … very well spent,” Cull said. “If our valve doesn’t work, the government will have lost $250,000. If it does work, they will have saved a gazillion dollars.”

For DeMint — who regularly criticizes the Affordable Care Act for failing to lower health care costs and rails against “wasteful spending” — to oppose a measure that could save Medicare millions of dollars is at best dishonest and at worst hypocritical. Republicans who maintain that ‘Obamacare’ will ration care and slow the development of life-saving medical devices shouldn’t undercut private innovation that could improve the livelihoods of millions of Americans. That would, in their words, “death panel” the sickest among us.