12/25/14 Billion Dollar Failure

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More than a decade ago, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Children’s Health Act of 2000 [P.L. 106-310].  The nearly 150-page bill authorized the National Children’s Study.  To be carried out by N-I-H, the National Institutes of Health. 

This was to study the effect of environmental factors on the health and development of children from birth to age 21.

Among the long-term goals was to find ways to reduce autism, asthma, juvenile diabetes and other childhood afflictions.  The plan had widespread bipartisan support.  Nearly 500 House and Senate members voted for it [passed in the House 394-25 and passed in the Senate by unanimous consent].

More than 100,000 newborns would be closely monitored for two decades.

A pilot program to study 5,000 was launched in order to establish criteria.  The larger study wasn’t slated to start until next year.

In 2008, the National Academy of Sciences examined the study to determine if it was “scientifically sound and … [would] yield the greatest possible research benefits.”  Instead, it found serious flaws.

Officials promised to make recommended changes.

Four years later, the study was still plagued with budget and management difficulties.  In 2012, N-I-H announced it would make additional changes to salvage the project.

Earlier this year, came another damning report from the National Academy of Sciences.  It cast doubt on the success of the study.

Days ago, N-I-H canceled the entire program, stating it “[wasn’t] feasible.” 

After 14 years, the cost to taxpayers of the failed study was 1.3 billion dollars.

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