Research dollars have been an issue that advocates have worked for many years and now researchers are entering the process. From an article in the Baltimore Sun.
With their efforts to win more government funding stymied in Washington, medical researchers at the Johns Hopkins University and elsewhere are taking their lobbying campaign on the road — and into the presidential campaign.
The doctors and scientists plan to raise the profile of their issue by advertising and organizing in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. It is the latest move in an effort to reverse an erosion of federal funding for medical research, and another example of interest groups using the presidential campaign to push their individual issues…..
“In the long run, funding of NIH is going to equate into saving lives, saving money,” said Dr. John Wahrenberger, a cardiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., and an organizer in that state.
Analysts say candidates would feel obliged to pledge support if the issue becomes prominent enough.
“None of these candidates are going to particularly want to defend not spending money on cancer or heart disease,” said Robert Blendon, an expert on health policy and public opinion at the Harvard School of Public Health.
A few candidates have already touched on the topic. In August, Democrat John Edwards, whose wife Elizabeth is fighting breast cancer, voiced support for increasing the budget for cancer research. This month, Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed doubling the NIH budget. Republican Fred Thompson’s Web site mentions his support for promoting medical research, but it doesn’t say whether that would mean more funding.
Still, raising the profile of biomedical research won’t be easy in a campaign crowded with issues that include illegal immigration, high oil prices and national security. Just 2 percent of 1,500 adults surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation in August said they wanted to learn more about medical research.
Some say increases in funding would only help medical schools and research institutes fill the labs they built during the last round of increases, while others argue that if the goal is improving health care, the cash-strapped government should target any extra resources to research that helps doctors and patients choose the best treatments.
No matter what you believe, you should be aware of what is happening with research funding. To read the entire article in the Baltimore Sun click here.
There is also a coalition that is polling the presidential candidates on their stands on research funding. Click here to read the survey they have sent out. All 2008 presidential candidates have been invited by mail and e-mail to respond to the Your Candidates–Your Health 2008 voter guide questionnaire.
Each candidate received a letter explaining the initiative and a copy of the questionnaire. They were given the option of responding by fax, mail, e-mail or online at a secure Web site, www.yourcandidatesyourhealth.org. Each candidate was assigned a unique password so that only they could access their online questionnaire.
Check back at http://www.yourcandidatesyourhealth.org/ to find out how they responded.