Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, has made many enemies in his healthcare policy campaigns. Gates was heckled by protesters from the Foreskin Awareness Project (FAP) in Vancouver on Thursday, just before he delivered a talk at a TED conference. The protesters were criticising circumcision programs in Africa funded by the the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It donates millions of dollars each year to male circumcision programs in 14 countries, because of the procedure appears to reduce heterosexual HIV infections. FAP says that Gates is “Foreskin Enemy #1”.
FAP founder Glen Callender questions the merits of circumcision in preventing HIV, and is concerned about the aggression of ‘circumcision drives’ in African nations: “Soon it will be obvious that circumcision gave these men false confidence, not effective protection,” he said.
Elsewhere, conservative Bioethicist Wesley Smith attacked Gates for his recent remarks on “death panels” and “rationing medical advances”. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Gates had mentioned the need for caution when providing healthcare to the elderly:
“innovation can actually be your enemy in health care if you are not careful. If you accelerate certain things but aren't careful about whether you want to make those innovations available to everyone, then you're intensifying the cost in such a way that you'll overwhelm all the resources.”
Smith wrote in response, “Yes, we have to find ways to control medical costs. [But] not through invidious discrimination depriving people of non-elective or necessary care, while payment for coverage of life-style enhancers continues to increase.”
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