Milken: Research as Important as Reform

Legislators who have spent months haggling over the health-care bill have lost sight of an equally important health-care issue: the need for more funding for research and prevention, Mike Milken argues. In the 1950s, experts worried that treating polio would cost the government $100 billion a year by the year 2000 (it now costs 1,000 times less than that). The former Wall Street financier writes that we risk losing ground in medical research if we don’t pump more money into curing diseases, and with big goals, like making cancer a manageable chronic disease instead of a killer. And costs will only increase as American waistlines expand, so more money should go toward wellness programs. “Legislation will address health-insurance coverage and payments—perhaps, as the president put it, ‘without adding a dime to our deficit,’” Milken writes. “But that’s no more important than whether we add inches to our waistlines. ‘Reform’ will be largely irrelevant if we don’t increase prevention and research.”