Huffpost Politics

Chris Collins, GOP Candidate, Clarifies Controversial Cancer Comments

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Republican congressional candidate Chris Collins, who last week caused a stir when he claimed that "people now don't die" from prostate and breast cancer, clarified his comments Saturday, stating that his criticism of Obama's health care law was taken out of context.

Collins, who is challenging Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) in her upcoming reelection bid, told the Batavian that his comments were intended to reflect the great strides made in cancer treatments over the past ten years -- as well as the jump in cost of those treatments.

"The result is we live a lot longer and people today are surviving where they may not have a decade ago," Collins said.

According to the Batavian, Collins believes it's ridiculous that anyone would take his comments literally.

“Clearly, I’m not a politician," Collins said. "I come out of the private sector. I speak very directly. I actually answer questions. I’m not someone who filters, who is consistently filtering everything you say.”

Hochul, who won her seat in a May 2011 special election, had a different take on her opponent's defense.

“He said it was out of context," Hochul said. "It looked like it read in context to me ... If you’re going to engage in this level of debate and criticize health policy that provides care to people with preexisting conditions, if you want to have these conversations, it’s important to state your position clearly."

Last week, Hochul said that while Obama's health care law has its flaws, Congress has more pressing issues to take on now that the Supreme Court has affirmed the law's constitutionality.

"There's a lot of uncertainty about this, but it is now the law of the land and they understand that," she said during a town hall meeting. "And we don't want to take this country backward and re-litigate and re-fight over this. We've got a lot of other issues to deal with."

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