Pro-Life Republicans Vote to Kill Poison Control Centers
In the past couple of months, the Republican Party has launched an all-out assault on women’s reproductive rights:
- Trying to defund Planned Parenthood
- Trying to redefine rape to deny abortion funding
- Trying to pass laws that would require investigations of all miscarriages
- Trying to pass laws that would legalize killing abortion providers
- Trying to define ‘human life’ to begin with a fetal heartbeat
- Calling two fetuses as ‘witnesses’ to anti-abortion hearings
- Trying to pass laws to outlaw federal funds for contraceptives
- Trying to pass laws that would allow hospital ERs to let women die rather than provide abortions
And that sad list is just off the top of my head; there’s much more.
Clearly, the Republican Party is extremely concerned about protecting the life of every single fetus, and willing to spend large amounts of time and money for the cause.
Once those little brats are out of the womb, though, they’re on their own.
Eliminating nearly all the money for poison control centers would save $27 million — not even a rounding error when it comes to the deficit. Yet it is so foolish that it perfectly illustrates the thoughtlessness of the House Republican bill to cut $61 billion from the budget over the next seven months.
The nation’s network of 57 poison control centers takes four million calls a year about people who may have been exposed to a toxic substance. In three-quarters of all cases, the centers are able to provide treatment advice that does not require a visit to a hospital or a doctor, saving tens of millions of dollars in medical costs.
While a single visit to an emergency room can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars (often paid for by the government), a call to a poison center costs the government only $30 or $40. A study in the Journal of Medical Toxicology estimated that the poison centers saved the State of Arizona alone $33 million a year. Louisiana eliminated its centers in the 1980s but restored them when it realized how much money they saved.
The centers, which collect poison reports, can also act as an early warning system for pandemics or large toxic exposures, allowing a quick response.
The federal government pays about 20 percent of the cost of the centers, with states, cities and philanthropy picking up the rest. Many strapped state and local governments have cut back their financing, and experts say that the virtual elimination of federal money would force many centers to close and sharply damage the effectiveness of the national network.