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 p