The Saddest Paragraph You'll Read About the Government Shutdown Today

With NIH furloughs, children with cancer are being turned away from clinical trials.

You've heard about the Pandacam, the closed monuments and national parks, and the furloughed federal workers. But so far, nothing I've read about the government shutdown has been nearly as gut-wrenching as this tidbit from The Wall Street Journal:

At the National Institutes of Health, nearly three-quarters of the staff was furloughed. One result: director Francis Collins said about 200 patients who otherwise would be admitted to the NIH Clinical Center into clinical trials each week will be turned away. This includes about 30 children, most of them cancer patients, he said.

House Republicans have failed to stop Obamacare from going into effect so far, but sadly and ironically, their actions have prevented hundreds of people from getting healthcare from just one clinic.

Update, October 2, 2013: As part of the Republican effort to fund selected pieces of the government through individual appropriations, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has proposed a bill that would restore the NIH budget. Democrats, however, have rejected it. Should they? I weigh in here.

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Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

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