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July/August 2016
POLICY AND ADVOCACY
Party Platforms Include IDSA Priorities

The Democratic and Republican party platforms that were ratified last month at the two parties’ conventions both contain proposals related to IDSA’s strategic priorities. The Democratic party platform speaks to health care workforce issues, and funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and public health.  It also pledges to advance several domestic and global HIV priorities and to address prescription drug costs. The Republican party platform commits support for federal and private investment in biomedical innovation, explicitly noting Ebola, Zika, chikungunya and antibiotic resistant pathogens as key priorities.  It also promises reform of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to better foster innovation and expresses support for AIDS relief under PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. 

IDSA and HIVMA are non-partisan and continue to work with elected officials from both parties to advance the Society’s priorities.

Relevant excerpts from both party platforms are below:

Democratic Party Platform

Healthcare Workforce:  “Democrats also know that one of the key ingredients to the success of these health centers is a well-supported and qualified workforce in community-based settings. We will fight to train and support this workforce, encourage providers to work with underserved populations through the National Health Service Corps, and create a comprehensive strategy to increase the pool of primary health care professionals.”

Prescription Drug Prices:  “We will crack down on price gouging by drug companies and cap the amount Americans have to pay out-of-pocket every month on prescription drugs. We will prohibit anti-competitive “pay for delay” deals that keep generic drugs off the market, and we will allow individuals, pharmacists, and wholesalers to import prescription drugs from licensed pharmacies in Canada and other countries with appropriate safety protections. Democrats will also fight to make sure that Medicare will negotiate lower prices with drug manufacturers.”

NIH Funding:  “We recognize the critical importance of a fully-funded National Institutes of Health to accelerate the pace of medical progress.”

Public Health Funding:  “Democrats will fight for increased investments in public health to better address emerging threats and the needs across our country. To further that end, the Democratic Party will continue to oppose Republican attempts to cut public health services and funding. We will ensure adequate funding of public health education at the undergraduate, graduate, and medical school levels as well as adequate funding of residency training programs in public health, preventive medicine, and its subspecialties.”

Zika and Pandemic Preparedness:  “While the Republican Party refuses to fund important measures that could contain and address the Zika pandemic, Democrats are ready to limit the reach of Zika—just as we did with Ebola—and support funding for diagnostic tests for the virus, vaccine, and treatment. We will also prepare for potential pandemics, like avian influenza and H1N1, by working with first responders and health officials to reduce the risks associated with unintentional or deliberate outbreaks of infectious diseases.”

HIV/AIDS:  “…we will implement the National HIV and AIDS Strategy; increase research funding for the National Institutes of Health; cap pharmaceutical expenses for people living with HIV and AIDS; reform HIV criminalization laws; and expand access for harm reduction programs and HIV prevention medications, particularly for the populations most at risk of infection. Abroad, we will continue our commitment to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and increase global funding for HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment.”

Republican Party Platform

Research:  “American medicine is poised to enter a new era of technological advance. Federal and private investment in basic and applied biomedical research holds enormous promise, especially with diseases and disorders like autism, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Just as we today take for granted wonders that seemed impossible a few decades ago — MRIs and CAT scans, robotic surgery, and in utero treatment — patients a decade hence will have care and treatment that will make much of today’s medicine look primitive. Modern miracles involving genetics, the immune system, cures for deadly diseases, and more are in the research pipeline.  This is the consequence of marrying significant investment, both public and private, with the world’s best talent, a formula that has for a century given the American people the world’s best healthcare.  We are determined that it should continue to do so, especially as we confront new dangers like Ebola, Zika, chikungunya, and antibiotic-resistant pathogens.”

FDA Reform:  “The FDA needs to return to its traditional emphasis on hard science and approving new breakthrough medicines, rather than divert its attention and consume its resources trying to overregulate electronic health records or vaping. We pledge to restore the FDA to its position as the premier scientific health agency, focused on both promoting and protecting the public health in equal measure, so we can ensure that Americans live longer, healthier lives, that the United States remains the world leader in life sciences and medical innovation, that millions of high-paying, cutting-edge device and drug jobs stay in the United States, that U.S. patients benefit first and most from new devices and drugs, and that the FDA no longer wastes U.S. taxpayer and innovators’ resources through bureaucratic red tape and legal uncertainty.”

Global HIV/AIDS:  “The Republican Congress has extended to 2025 the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and President George W. Bush’s health initiatives — AIDS relief under PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria — continue to save millions of lives. Peace Corps volunteers and U.S. Seabees teach and build in villages that know firsthand our country’s idealism.” 

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