Letter to the editor: Reparations and health care

To the editor:

Reparations for descendants of enslaved citizens have long been a topic of concern. True reparations involve more than the exchange of money; they involve national recognition of the problem and a spirit of reconciliation. But, no matter what algorithm is used, it will be impossible to create an agreed-upon program, or so it seems.

Sickle cell anemia is a major threat to African Americans. According to the CDC, it affects approximately 100,000 Americans. About 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies is born with the sickle cell trait and a possibly pain-filled, life-shortening illness.

Thanks to amazing developments, CRISPR technology can be used to remove some faulty red blood cells and “edit” them to become normal. The result is a prolonged life free of the condition!

The first two cases cured with CRISPR cost about $1 million. But we can drastically reduce the cost, and it should be free for those with the sickle cell condition.

The high cost will be offset by reduced ER visits, hospitalizations and lost work, while quality of life will be greatly enhanced. And, it will be recognized as a major step in solving the reparations dilemma.

Estimates indicate that it might cost as little as $10-12 billion, but many technical and medical developments will spin off. (For comparison, annual farm subsidies cost $30 billion, and we taxpayers spent $245 billion to bail out banks in the 2008 housing crisis.) If we’re the nation we claim to be, we should proceed without delay.

Graham Kreicker,



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