His WAPO opinion piece is here. My own perspective on the value of basic science starts with the many salient failures in clinical trials. The reason for this high rate of failure is that we don’t understand basic mechanisms in the healthy human body. For example, how can we successfully treat Alzheimer’s disease if we don’t fully understand how learning and memory work in the healthy brain?
Another point: basic science often pays off in ways that could not have been anticipated at the beginning. Certainly this is true for the new gene editing technologies which arose out of research into the immune systems of bacteria. There are many such examples. Kudos to George Will!