[April 28, 2020], President Biden was widely praised in mainstream and health-care–focused media for his call to create a "new biomedical research agency" modeled after the U.S. military's "high-risk, high-reward" Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. As touted by the president, the agency would seek to develop "innovative" and "breakthrough" treatments for cancer, Alzheimer's disease and diabetes, with a call to "end cancer as we know it."
Far from "ending cancer" in the way most Americans might envision it, the proposed agency would merge "national security" with "health security" in such a way as to use both physical and mental health "warning signs" to prevent outbreaks of disease or violence before they occur. Such a system is a recipe for a technocratic "pre-crime" organization with the potential to criminalize both mental and physical illness as well as "wrongthink."
The Biden administration has asked Congress for $6.5 billion to fund the agency, which would be largely guided by Biden's recently confirmed top science adviser, Eric Lander.