If you're reading that quote in the title, and thinking that no one--not even a Republican nominee for Congress--could possibly say something so incredibly stupid, I understand. Similarly, I'll understand if you assume at first that said quote has to have been paraphrased out of context or heavily edited.
Well, you're sort of right. I did leave out a few words. Unfortunately for Chris Collins, the millionaire former executive running for Congress, they're words which only make him look even stupider, since he expressly calls out two of the more fatal kinds of cancer in America as being now supposedly non-lethal.
In an interview last week with local website The Batavian, Collins was asked about healthcare, and after the usual Republican talking points against Obamacare, he went off defending the current cost of healthcare in the US. Emphasis mine:
The healthcare reforms Collins said he would push would be tort reform and open up competition in insurance by allowing policies across state lines.Now, I could point out that the US life expectancy isn't any better than other modern countries that spend half as much, or that all of the things he describes like stents and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators have been around a lot longer than 10 years--in fact, the first ICD was implanted in 1980, and nerve stimulators have been around since 1974.
Collins also argued that modern healthcare is expensive for a reason.
"People now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things," Collins said. "The fact of the matter is, our healthcare today is so much better, we’re living so much longer, because of innovations in drug development, surgical procedures, stents, implantable cardiac defibrillators, neural stimulators -- they didn’t exist 10 years ago. The increase in cost is not because doctors are making a lot more money. It’s what you can get for healthcare, extending your life and curing diseases."
But all that pales in comparison to the bald faced claim that people in the US no longer die from breast cancer and prostate cancer. National Cancer Institute figures show a very different story: Breast cancer kills about 40,000 women a year in the US. Prostate cancer kills about 30,000 men. Five year mortality rates are 23% for breast cancer, 26% for prostate cancer. Only colorectal cancer and lung cancer kill more Americans.
That means that if you get one of these two cancers, even with complete modern medical treatment, drugs, therapies, etcetera, your average odds of being dead within five years after diagnosis are about one in four.
That's a higher chance of death than you would have with an average gunshot wound--only 22% of gunshot wounds are fatal. And a gunshot can't come out of remission and kill you years later even if you survive the first time.
So the Republican nominee for New York's 27th District claims that something more deadly than attempted murder is "something people don't die from anymore" because of the amount of money America spends on healthcare.