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A Missed Chance for Private Charity

by on October 26, 2009

We would have helped if asked to contribute to a noble cause.  That’s especially true if Jim Kelly did the asking.  A high percentage of Western New Yorkers would hack off a limb if the only Buffalo Bill with an officially retired number made the request.  With that in mind, it’s curious that his charity’s latest success involved turning to the feds for help:

The Hunter Kelly Newborn Screening Research Program, at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, aims to expand medical screening among newborns. Researchers hope to increase the number of conditions that can be diagnosed at birth, thinking that this may lead to the development of new and better treatments.

Nobody anywhere will dispute that it’s beyond worthy to catch newborns’ medical conditions.  But the medical field could have pursued this goal without the NIH’s intervention.  The concern is related to the reason that so many are sour on Obamacare: they want a better system for delivering health coverage but don’t want federal employees acting as deliveryman. Regrettably, said view is not offered in The Buffalo News:

Due in part to federal efforts, most states now screen for 29 primary conditions, but the research under the new NIH program aims to go beyond what is done now.

The paper would like you to thank your government.  But couldn’t this standard have been achieved without federal help? Hospitals and doctors could have advised new parents that these tests were highly recommended.  They also had the option to mandate the screenings themselves without being compelled by law to do so.  Nonetheless, the money is in place:

About $10 million has been allocated for the research program in its first year.

It’s unfortunate they didn’t attempt to raise the amount with a private drive.  If Hunter’s memory was used as inspiration to encourage screening funding, Western New Yorkers would open their wallets and demand that researchers take what they need.

Finding private companies in which to invest would have promoted efficiency in battling infant disease.  Even better, it would have given this area the chance to lead an effort proving that a heartwarmingly large percentage of humans will voluntarily contribute to those in genuine need.  If Kelly learned anything from being here since 1986, it’s that his fans and adopted neighbors are the types who are eager to help.  It’s unnecessary to use Washington as a go-between.

One Comment
  1. Anthony – double check some of your facts. Kelly has been raising private money for years to get it to this point. They do a telethon on WGR every year, where they raise $100K’s. The point of the federal funding is some states do 29 tests, and some do in the 50-70 range. They want to increase the number nationally. This is a good thing.

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