Republican Pol: People Don’t Die From Cancer Anymore

Apparently, the United States has cured cancer, but the only person who knows it is Republican Congressional candidate Chris Collins:

GOP congressional candidate Chris Collins knows health care is expensive these days, but he argues it’s for good reason: People are no longer dying from deadly forms of cancer.

“People now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things,” he told The Batavian in an interview that was flagged Tuesday by City & State NY. Collins was discussing his desire to repeal Obamacare.

“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,” he continued. “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.”

In fact, a lot of people do die from breast cancer and prostate cancer, despite advances in treatment. An estimated 577,190 people in the United States will die from cancer this year, including about 39,920 deaths from breast cancer and 28,170 from prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

Collins is correct, of course, that we’ve made great strides in detecting and treating cancer, but he’s sadly mistaken in his assertion that “people now don’t die” from these disease. Then again, he seems to have the requisite degree of knowledge about science for a Republican with Tea Party support.

H/T John Cole

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Healthcare Policy, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Then again, he seems to have the requisite degree of knowledge about science for a Republican with Tea Party support.

    FTFY, Doug.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    He may be over-qualified to be a member of the Republican Caucus.

  3. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Do you actually believe Collins is so dumb that he doesn’t know that those cancers still kill people? Really? Really?

    Absent Republican Derangement Syndrome, a person who read that entire news article would not have looked askance at that colloquy about health care, much less gone into high dudgeon mode about it. Seems pretty obvious, given the context, that what Collins is saying simply is that due to advances in medical technologies now you can contract those types of cancers but yet still survive, whereas previously they were in all instances de facto death sentences. Again, do you actually believe Collins is so out of it that he doesn’t know in the literal sense that people still die from such things as prostate cancer?

    At a certain level this screed sort of reminds me of that “I shot the clerk” scene from “My Cousin Vinny.”

  4. superdestroyer says:

    Once again, an idea does not fit into a 9 second sound bite, so it cannot be discussed in public. The Congressman was just making the normal argument that a siginificant portion of healthcare money is spent in the last few years of life dealing with chronic conditions such as cancner. Instead of someone dying quickly after the discover of advanced prostate cancer, now the cancer is detected much earlier and funds are spent on treating the disease.

    EArly detecton leads to bother lower survival times and more healthcare spending.

    Of course, discussing healthcare costs and what drives them is virtually impossible to cover in a news articles and no one is doing to write a definitive book on the issue.

  5. Nikki says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: If that is what he meant, then that is what he should have said. What he said, however, is that people no longer die from those diseases. He is running for office. If he didn’t intend his words to be misdirection for the electorate, he should have chosen them more carefully. Now he’s gonna pay a political price.

  6. C. Clavin says:

    Well if you really want to get into what he meant…then you have to get into the fact that while life expectancy is certainly better than the imaginary by-gone era Republicans pine for us to return to…we still get far worse health care results for far more health care money. And people like Collins have no solution for that problem.

  7. The quote, in full context, isn’t so bad.

    But beneath it, he’s saying “there are justified reasons for costs to rise, and the answer is just to pay less.”

    Block grants are a cap on spending. They are rationing.

  8. Scott O says:

    Meh, we all misspeak on occasion. Like “I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go” or “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we”.

    This is a much better example of lunacy:

    Collins, the former Erie County executive, has a history of verbal gaffes. When Collins was running for governor in 2010, he famously referred to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as the “antichrist.”

  9. al-Ameda says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Republican Derangement Syndrome

    Actually “Republican Derangement Syndrome” perfectly describes GOP candidates like Collins.

    Me? I’d describe Collins as yet Republican afflicted with “Alternative Reality Creation Disorder.”

  10. anjin-san says:

    Cancer doesn’t kill people, death panels kill people…

  11. Franklin says:

    People now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things.

    I doubt this was meant to be taken literally, just as if I said, “nobody uses AOL anymore”.

    /coincidentally, many victims of prostate and breast cancer probably use AOL …
    //sorry, that poor joke was just as emotionally hurtful to actual victims’ families as the statement that nobody dies of cancer.

  12. mantis says:

    After reading the full piece, it seems clear to me that Collins doesn’t actually believe that people don’t die from prostate and breast cancer. His other comments on modern healthcare are not crazy or terribly misinformed, even if I don’t agree with his positions. My guess is he meant to add “…as much as they used to” or some other qualifier at the end of that statement, or he did actually say it and the reporter missed it.

  13. J-Dub says:

    What’s his argument? That healthcare is really expensive so we should have universal health care, maybe even a mandate that we all be covered by insurance?

    His argument is similar to one about airbags in cars. Whereas a head-on collision used to incur the cost of a casket, now it might require a month in an ICU. Therefore, airbags are driving up the cost of health care.

  14. Barry says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “Do you actually believe Collins is so dumb that he doesn’t know that those cancers still kill people? Really? Really? ”

    No. Evil and lying, yes.