The government shutdown is already affecting millions of people in a variety of ways, but for some of America's most vulnerable citizens, the abrupt lack of public services could literally be a death sentence.

In a Wall Street Journal article concerning the impact of the House Republicans' game of head-on collision, The Atlantic found a single paragraph composed of just three sentences that put the entire thing in heartbreaking perspective:

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.

Beyond the immediate tragedy of these desperately ill Americans being denied access to potentially life-saving remedies, there is also the fact that these clinical trials could have led to live-saving remedies for thousands, if not millions of other Americans.

In other words, while callously seeking to block the healthcare of some, the GOP is effectively destroying the healthcare of all.

And, as one Atlantic commenter noted in a heartless language Republicans might understand, "as more people survive the more they pay back the value of their govt-supported treatments through their productivity."

[H/T: The Atlantic, screengrab via NIH]