What Republicans propose about medical research, healthcare workers, the FDA, and veterans

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.

In this post, I present sections of the 2016 Republican Party platform dealing with healthcare workers, medical research, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and veterans’ healthcare.

I have included a few links to other sites to provide context; they are not necessarily endorced by the party.

Protecting Individual Conscience in Healthcare

America’s healthcare professionals should not be forced to choose between following their faith and practicing their profession.

We respect the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and organizations, especially the faith-based groups which provide a major portion of care for the nation and the needy.

a physician extending a stethoscope toward a patient who is not visible

Advancing Research and Development in Healthcare

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.

To continue our headway against breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, and other killers, research must consider the needs of formerly neglected demographic groups.

a drawing representing CRISPR
CRISPR-Cas9 is a customizable tool that lets scientists cut and insert small pieces of DNA at precise areas along a DNA strand. This lets scientists study our genes in a specific, targeted way. Credit: Ernesto del Aguila III, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH

Republicans

call for expanded support for the stem cell research that now offers the greatest hope for many afflictions — through adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells — without the destruction of embryonic human life

urge a ban on human cloning for research or reproduction, and a ban on the creation of, or experimentation on, human embryos for research

believe the FDA’s approval of Mifeprex, a dangerous abortifacient formerly known as RU-486, threatens women’s health, as does the agency’s endorsement of over-the-counter sales of powerful contraceptives without a physician’s recommendation.

Putting Patients First: Reforming the FDA

The United States has led life sciences and medical innovation for decades, bringing millions of high-paying jobs to our country and helping Americans and people around the world live longer, healthier lives. Unfortunately, the continuously increasing burden of governmental regulation and red tape is taking its toll on our innovative companies, and their pipeline of new life-saving devices and drugs to our nation’s patients is slowing and diminishing.

Collage of Various Types and Colors of Medication
Collage of Various Types and Colors of Medication

The FDA-Food and Drug Administration– has slowly but relentlessly changed into an agency that more and more puts the public health at risk by delaying, chilling, and killing the development of new devices, drugs and biologics that can promote our lives and our health.

The FDA needs leadership that can reform the agency for our century and fix the lack of predictability, consistency, transparency and efficiency at the agency.

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.

We commend those states that have passed Right to Try legislation, allowing terminally ill patients the right to try investigational medicines not yet approved by the FDA. We urge Congress to pass federal legislation to give all Americans with terminal illnesses the right to try.

Honoring and Supporting Our Veterans: A Sacred Obligation

Our wounded warriors, whether still in service or discharged, deserve the best medical care the country can provide. We must make military and veterans’ medicine the gold standard for mental health, traumatic brain injury, multiple traumas, loss of limbs, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those injuries require a new commitment of targeted resources and personnel for treatment and care to advance recovery.

disabled veteran patch
Photo by Dr Aletha

The VA- Veterans Administration

That includes allowing veterans to choose to access care in the community and not just in VA facilities, because the best care in the world is not effective if it is not accessible.

We will seek to consolidate the VA’s existing community care authorities to make a single program that will be easily understood by both veterans and VA healthcare providers.

Like the rest of American medicine, the VA faces a critical shortage of primary care and mental health physicians. That’s why there are long waiting times to see a doctor and why doctors are often frustrated by the limited time they have with their patients.

This is especially the case with mental health care, which often amounts to prescribing drugs because there are not enough psychologists and psychiatrists to do anything else. Inadequate treatment of PTSD drives other problems like suicide, homelessness, and unemployment.

This situation may not be quickly reversed, but a Republican administration will begin, on day one, to undertake the job.

Over-prescription of opioids has become a nationwide problem hindering the treatment of veterans suffering from mental health issues. We therefore support the need to explore new and broader ranges of options, including faithbased programs, that will better serve the veteran and reduce the need to rely on drugs as the sole

exploring the HEART of healthcare policy

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

Medical stethoscope and heart on a textured background

Dr Aletha

Here is another post in this series you’ll want to read also.

What Democrats propose for medical research, healthcare workers, and veterans

Twenty veterans and service members take their life every day. We will treat suicide as the public health crisis it is, invest in mental health and suicide prevention services, and work with our military communities to encourage and support those seeking help, connecting them to critical services.

In this post we’ll consider the Democratic party platform statements on medical research, the healthcare workforce, military and veteran healthcare, and global health challenges.

Investing in Health Science and Research

Scientific research is at the heart of medicine—and of health care. Democrats want the United States to be at the forefront of scientific research and discovery for the benefit of our people, our economy, and our global competitiveness.

Democrats will

support increased and sustainable funding for health and medical research and federal grants across agencies, including at the National Cancer Institute and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the CDC, and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality.

increase the federal investment in research and development for new medications through the NIH, and make sure that there is a return on that investment for taxpayers.

build on the foundation of the Obama-Biden Administration’s Cancer Moonshot to break down silos and accelerate research into cancer and cancer treatments by creating an agency with the sole mission of finding new cures and treatments for cancer and other diseases.

Democrats also support

increasing funding for research into health disparities by race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, geographic area, and socioeconomic status, with a focus on how the social determinants of health contribute to differences in health outcomes.

fully integrating people with disabilities in all stages of health and medical research to ensure outcomes reflect the true needs of Americans with disabilities.

Democrats will take steps

to increase the diversity of principal investigators receiving federal grants, and participants in federally supported clinical trials,

to improve the quality and applicability of our medical research for women and people of color,

Democrats will

protect the independence and intellectual freedom of scientists, whether employed by the federal government or receiving federal grants, and

take steps to shield our scientific research agencies from future political interference.

Photo by Laura James on Pexels.com

Strengthening and Supporting the Health Care Workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic has made plain to people across the country that our health care workers are heroes. Our doctors and nurses, our home health aides and physician’s assistants, our public health professionals, our home care workers and nursing home workers, and our cleaners and service workers have shown up to work every day despite dire shortages of personal protective equipment.

Far too many of them have lost their lives to this terrible disease, and untold thousands are suffering the mental and emotional strain of losing far too many patients.

And yet, despite the critical role they play in our society and our economy, these frontline workers—a majority of whom are women of color—are often underpaid and lack access to paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, health insurance, and other benefits critical for their own health and the health of patients.

Democrats believe that

all jobs in the caring economy must come with family-sustaining wages, good benefits, access to paid leave, fair and predictable schedules, access to training and professional development, and the ability to join a union and collectively bargain.

all employers funded by taxpayer dollars must pay their workers at least $15 an hour and protect workers’ rights to organize.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

Although health care jobs are among the fastest growing in the economy, demand for services still far outstrips supply, especially in primary care.

We will

invest in community health worker care-forces around the nation proven to prevent, manage, and better treat chronic illnesses, and

empower first-time mothers with home visiting.

close provider gaps and increase diversity in the health care profession by creating a robust pipeline of talent with career ladders for advancement.

increase opportunities for community health workers to come from the communities they serve.

Keeping Faith with Our Veterans and Military Families

Democrats believe that our force is stronger when it reflects the richness and diversity of American society, and when we treat our service members, veterans, and their families with the dignity they’ve earned.

honoring our active military and veterans

We will

protect and enhance opportunities for anyone who can meet the standards to serve in combat roles, and

fight the scourge of rape and sexual assault in our military, end retaliation and impunity, and take care of survivors.

reverse the Trump Administration’s hateful transgender ban, discriminatory exclusions in military health care, and policies that stigmatize and discriminate against people living with HIV and AIDS, and

ensure that LGBTQ+ service members and families enjoy equal respect, benefits, and care.

Democrats believe that the world’s best fighting force and its veterans deserve the world’s best health care.

We will

rebuild trust in, and accountability at, the VA (Veterans Administration) —not privatize it.

modernize VA facilities and bolster funding to the VA as part of a nationwide infrastructure plan, expand eligibility for VA benefits so that all veterans can access the VA, and

work with Congress to eliminate VA cop-pays for preventive health care for veterans.

ensure that VA benefits address the full needs of our women veterans, including reproductive services, and that every veteran receives comprehensive and culturally competent care and benefits regardless of their ethnicity, race, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and eliminate transgender exclusions.

We will combat veteran homelessness, including by converting VA facilities into housing.

Twenty veterans and service members take their life every day. We will treat suicide as the public health crisis it is, invest in mental health and suicide prevention services, and work with our military communities to encourage and support those seeking help, connecting them to critical services.

Mobilizing the World to Address Transnational Challenges, Global Health and Pandemics

The human and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgency of strengthening the global public health system—and the consequences of America’s disengagement from the world.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Democrats will take overdue steps to ensure our government is not caught off guard by public health threats, at home or abroad.

We will

revitalize and expand the Obama-Biden Administration’s Global Health Security Agenda, immediately restore the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense.

mobilize allies, partners, and international institutions to develop a more robust and effective global public health system.

work to help the United Nations improve its facilitation efforts in public health crises,

establish a Global Health Emergency Board to harmonize crisis response for vulnerable communities.

fully resource the WHO, especially its Contingency Fund for Emergencies, while supporting fundamental reforms and mechanisms to enhance accountability and protect experts from political pressure.

support the development of a vaccine accelerator to ensure rapid, equitable, and affordable global access to vaccines, therapeutics, and supplies.

reaffirm our commitment to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and help realize the promise of an AIDS-free generation.

And we will help the world eradicate tuberculosis, malaria, and polio, as well as preventable maternal and childhood deaths.

exploring the HEART of health

Here is another post in this series you should read

The Democratic Party- “Universal Health Care”

Democrats will keep up the fight until all Americans can access secure, affordable, high-quality health insurance—because as Democrats, we fundamentally believe health care is a right for all, not a privilege for the few.

As in the previous posts, the photos are for illustration only; the links are for information only, not endorsement.

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

a world globe with two crossed bandaids

Doctor Aletha

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