On Wednesday, the American Cancer Society published a report in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians that actually included some good news: people are dying less from cancer. The paper’s abstract reads that the U.S. is currently experiencing, “the largest ever single‐year drop in overall cancer mortality of 2.2%” which took place from 2016 to 2017, the 26th year in a row that cancer rates had dropped. Hurray!
On Thursday, Donald Trump attempted to take credit for this improvement in human health, tweeting, “U.S. Cancer Death Rate Lowest In Recorded History! A lot of good news coming out of this Administration.”
U.S. Cancer Death Rate Lowest In Recorded History! A lot of good news coming out of this Administration.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2020
This tweet ruffled a lot of feathers, as Donald Trump’s tweets tend to do. For one, these deaths have been declining in the U.S. since 1991, dropping as much as 29% since 2017. CNN spoke with Gary M. Reedy, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, who firmly denied that Trump and his administration had anything to do with this improvement.
“The mortality trends reflected in our current report, including the largest drop in overall cancer mortality ever recorded from 2016 to 2017, reflect prevention, early detection, and treatment advances that occurred in prior years,” Reedy wrote in a statement.
“Since taking office, the president has signed multiple spending bills that have included increases in funding for cancer research at the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute—though the impact of those increases are not reflected in the data contained in this report,” he continued, before concluding, “The administration has an opportunity to significantly impact future declines in both cancer incidence and mortality by increasing access to comprehensive health care, supporting robust and sustained increases in federal funding for cancer research and passing and implementing evidence-based tobacco control policies.”
So, maybe Trump does recall or has been retold that his administration has increased funding for cancer research—which is good! But not really related to the current news at all. And as Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz pointed out on Twitter, those increases were made against Trump’s desires. He actually wanted to slash the National Institutes of Health’s budget for cancer research, but Congress prevailed:
Cancer rates dropped before you took office. Hopefully they keep dropping because Congress rejected your cruel research budgets, which sought billions in CUTS to @NIH and the National Cancer Institute. This is good news despite you - not because of you https://t.co/gxPvAYSPFe— Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) January 9, 2020
Additionally, the Trump administration is still trying to get rid of Obamacare. Trump’s Department of Justice has joined a lawsuit alleging Obamacare is unconstitutional. If the Supreme Court agrees with the Trump administration, fewer people will have access to the kind of comprehensive healthcare that prevents cancer deaths.
Trump hasn’t yet found a lie he doesn’t like to tell.