Hot Air

Cancer Profits, Tea Party Benefits

Who knew?

I just learned, via Bill Moyers’ website, that the Cancer Treatment Centers of America is a big-time Tea Party donor.

CTCA, in case you’ve been living in an isolation tank the last couple of decades and haven’t seen or heard its ubiquitous commercials, can be described as the most institutionalized of the alternative cancer treatment rackets out there. The operation was begun back in 1988 by a real estate investor, financier, and horseman named Dick Stephenson who felt conventional medicine did not provide enough adequate treatments for the disease. So, his outfit peddles things like homeopathy, acupuncture, reiki, and qi gong along with fact-based treatments such as chemotherapy.

Anyway, Stephenson and the CTCA have shoveled tons of dough at the Freedom Works gang which is an offshoot of an earlier Koch Bros.-founded organization, Citizens for a Sound Economy. Tea Party-ists Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe, among others, split off to form Freedom Works in 2004.

The Washington Post reported in 2012 that Stephenson had committed to donating $400,000 per year for 20 years to FW.



Then again, I really shouldn’t be surprised by this. Skim through any Right Wing or Tea Party sites and publications and you’ll see scads of ads for iffy or downright fraudulent cancer schemes. The angry-white-person crowd is ripe for snake oil claims for a seemingly endless array of maladies. The idea being, I suppose, that they don’t like hearing the truth that this or that disease is going to kill them. So they look for someone, anyone, to tell them it won’t. That goes along nicely with much of the Right’s overall denial of science and established facts in general when said info makes them feel itchy.

The CTCA is a for-profit medical  corporation. Stephenson is now a reclusive bazillionaire. His five-hospital operation reaps bushels of dough per year but don’t expect to find any exact figures because CTCA is still privately-held. It’s enough to know that, acc’d’g to the above-mentioned WashPo piece, Stephenson has spent ten of millions of dollars in recent years supporting conservative causes and individual candidates such as notorious former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh.

Even the business-friendly publication, Forbes, has criticized Stephenson’s cancer-for-profit dealio:

For-profit hospitals present a big ethical problem, even when they provide proper care.  The problem is that motivation to increase profits may work against the interest of patients.

The Federal Trade Commission has disciplined CTCA for making false claims in its ads and the Food and Drug Administration has sanctioned the corp. for conducting substandard clinical tests.

Of course, Tea Party organizations are four-square against big government poking its big nose into businesses, big or small. To them and the rest of the Ayn Rand-loving, invisible hand-ists, the making of money is a sacred end in and of itself even when the makers of money are people who capitalize fraudulently on the desperation of people who are scared to death of dying.

Those damned jack-booted gov’t thugs just might be cutting off a sweet source of cash.

One thought on “Hot Air

  1. David Paglis " not of that number who remain ignorant in spite of experience." says:

    Good one Mikey, tough to refute. All I can say is there is a distinction between Tea Partyists and Repubs.

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