As the elections get closer and the debates are finally over, I feel a need to add one more comment. Again please excuse the fact that I’m becoming medically political, but I can’t help it…nor it seems can the Brits! The recent issue of the British journal, Lancet had in it’s World Report section a summary of the US presidential candidates’ outline on health policies. Once more the positive aspects of the Affordable Care Act for women was emphasized: “In addition to an array of free preventative healthcare services that the law requires for all patients, the ACA also empowers the US Department of Health and Human Services to add other preventative healthcare benefits specifically for women. These additional benefits which took effect in August, include HIV testing and all birth-control methods approved by the FDA.” The article’s author reminds us that Romney opposes the law’s requirement that employee sponsored plans cover contraception. But remember most Americans have health policies through their jobs! And although most voters in United States will be looking at the issues of domestic health reform (or I hope they might at least consider it), their are those who might want to factor in proposed global health policies and expenditures.
President Obama has expanded funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PREPAR), which has a goal of providing treatment to 8 million people worldwide by 2015. The Romney campaign has declined to answer questions about the fate of such initiatives should Romney win the presidency. He did make a statement last July at the International AIDS Conference in Washington DC praising ” the significant progress in research, education, delivery of drugs” and said that more needed to be done. He went on to say ” America is a compassionate nation it has been - and must continue to be – a beacon of hope for innovative research and support as we seek to overcome the global challenge of AIDS.” But that does not mean he will support ongoing or increased global health initiatives. He is running on a campaign of decreasing government expenditures. And unless overturned, automatic cuts in foreign and domestic spending are scheduled to take effect in January if Congress fails to trim the budget by about $1 trillion from the federal budget.
So there we are…neither campaign has explicitly promised to increase support for future research and science. But if you care about our domestic health and welfare, as well as that of women and children in the world we live in, I hope you will consider the specificity of statements, the promises and the health related agendas of the candidates when you vote.