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

How the Democratic and Republican party platforms differ

The platforms read and sound different in tone and emphasis. I think the Democratic platform can be likened to a “campaign speech” while the Republican document sounds more like a “state of the union” message.

We’ve been looking at how the Democratic and Republican parties differ in views on healthcare by reviewing specific points in the party platforms. In this post I’m going to step away from looking at specifics and share my general observations about the platforms themselves.

I’m mostly highlighting differences, because the platforms are as different as the parties are-one conservative, one liberal. They both of course claim to love America and democracy and want to defend and preserve and improve our way of life. But the way they want to do so is as different as RED is from BLUE.

I intend for these posts to be non-partisan but because I’m sharing my own observations this one may look more like an opinion. I’m using these posts for my own education as well as yours, so we can be better informed and inspired voters.

I have been a registered voter since I was 18, being one of the first to benefit from the 26th Amendment that changed the voting age from 21 years to 18 years.

I have been registered with both major parties and have voted for candidates in both parties, so I have no allegiance to either one. If these observations seem biased, it is strictly unintentional. So let’s take a look.

Note: I chose the photos for illustration, they are not affiliated with either party.

When were the platforms written?

Usually platforms are written or revised on the years the parties meet for the convention that nominates the presidential candidate.

Republicans

The Republicans last did that in 2016 when Donald Trump was nominated and won the election. In 2020 when he ran for reelection during the COVID pandemic, they deferred writing a new platform citing

“strict restrictions on gatherings and meetings, and out of concern for the safety of convention attendees and our hosts;” and “in appreciation of the fact that it did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement.”

It went on to state

“The RNC enthusiastically supports President Trump and the Republican Party and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.”

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention.”

The RNC also passed a resolution in 2022 “reaffirming” its commitment to the platform”.

Democrats

In 2020 the Democrats held a convention, conducted mostly virtually, and wrote a new party platform.Their candidate Joe Biden won the presidential election. According to their website,

“Every four years, Democrats from across the country join together to craft our party’s platform.The platform is created to uplift working people and write out the values that will guide our party for years to come.”

The platform was considered by the 2020 Platform Committee at its meeting on July 27, 2020, and was approved by the Democratic National Convention on August 18, 2020.

How long is the platform?

The Democrats take first place for length. As a PDF document, 86 pages are devoted to text. There are 11 sections, most of which are also divided into different categories.

The Republican document is brief in comparison, 58 pages, divided into 6 sections.

Key differences in content of the platform

The platforms read and sound different in tone and emphasis. I think the Democratic platform can be likened to a “campaign speech” while the Republican document sounds more like a “state of the union” message.

Democrats – the party of change

  • “Campaign speech”
  • Action oriented
  • Problem specific
  • Future directed
  • Diversity, inclusivity
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Republicans- the party of stability

  • “State of the union”
  • Policy oriented
  • Maintain the status quo
  • General concepts
  • Build on the past
  • Conformity, consistency

Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

What do the platforms say about the other party?

Both of the platforms comment on the other party unfavorably multiple times.

Written in 2016 during the presidency of Democrat Barack Obama, the Republican platform was repeatedly critical of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, otherwise known as ObamaCare, as well as other aspects of President Obama’s administration.

The President (Obama) and the Democratic Party have dismantled Americans’ system of healthcare. They have replaced it with a costly and complicated scheme that limits choices and takes away our freedoms.

The President and the Democratic party have abandoned their promise of being accountable to the American people.

Written in 2020, the Democratic platform opened with scathing criticism of President Trump’s management of the pandemic, and continued throughout the document on other issues.

The bill has come due on the Trump Administration’s hollowing out of our public institutions: the sidelining of experts, the rejection of science, the underinvestment in research, and the gross corruption and abuses of power.

President Trump’s dereliction of duty has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans, the loss of tens of millions of American jobs, and lasting harm to our children’s education and future.

Most of the criticisms are then followed by how or what their party and candidate will do differently.

What do the platforms say about social issues?

You don’t have to read the platforms to know that Democrats and Republicans differ drastically on social issues such as marriage, reproduction, abortion, schools, immigration, religion, and sexuality. The aftermath of the recent (2022) Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe vs. Wade shows that pointedly. These differences are spelled out in the platforms but each party approaches them from different angles, not categorizing them the same way.

I will devote additional posts to these topics. On some of them one platform says more than the other so the content will not exactly parallel. I’ll do my best to lay out both sides, but encourage you to do your homework and review the entire platforms.

exploring the HEART of health

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.

Please do follow the above links to the party platforms, bookmark them, and refer to them as the season of primaries closes and we approach national election day, Tuesday November 8. We won’t elect a new president but the choice of a new legislative branch of government is just as important.

See you at the polls.

Dr Aletha

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