These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to the fourth of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.
I posted the responses to Question #1 at (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.
The responses to Question #2 (concerning research) are at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.
The responses to Question #3 (concerning climate change) are at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 3″.
The responses to Question #4 (concerning biodiversity) are at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 4″.
The responses to Question #5 (concerning the Internet) are at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 5″.
The responses to Question #6 (concerning mental health) are at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 6″.
The responses to Question #7 (concerning energy) are at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 7″.
The responses to Question #8 (concerning science and mathematics education) are at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 8″.
I hope that you will take the time to look at these responses and offer your own thoughts. My own thoughts and analysis are at the end of the post.
- Public Health
Public health efforts like smoking cessation, drunk driving laws, vaccination, and water fluoridation have improved health and productivity and save millions of lives. How would you improve federal research and our public health system to better protect Americans from emerging diseases and other public health threats, such as antibiotic resistant superbugs?
Hillary Clinton (D)
America has witnessed enormous successes with some of its major public health initiatives, such as smoking cessation and water fluoridation. Yet, we have a long way to go to strengthen the public health system to provide adequate protection for our communities. Recent events like lead contamination in drinking water in Flint, Michigan, development of antibiotic resistant microbes, uncontrolled spread of Aedes mosquitos that spread tropical diseases like Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya, the growth of opiate addiction, and the continuing need to address HIV make clear the shortcomings of our public health system and the urgent need for improvements.
But despite these threats, we are not investing in public health preparedness and emergency response the way we should to keep our families and communities safe. A 2015 study found that spending on public health had fallen more than nine percent since 2008. And uncertain long-term budgets leave our public health agencies dependent on emergency appropriations—meaning that when Congress fails to step up, communities are left without the resources they need, vaccines languish in development, and more people get sick.
That is why as President, I will create a Public Health Rapid Response Fund, with consistent, year-to-year budgets, to better enable the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, state and local public health departments, hospital systems, and other federal agencies to quickly and aggressively respond to major public health crises and pandemics. I will also ensure that our government has strong leadership and is organized to better support and work with people on the ground facing public health challenges.
In addition, we need to do more to boost our preparedness for biological threats and bioweapons; to support research for new diagnostic tests, therapeutic treatments, and vaccines for emerging diseases; to build capacity in public health departments; to train the next cadre of public health professionals and ensure that public health and environmental health practices are standard to the educations of medical students; and to provide resources for states and local governments to plan for complex, multi-faceted public health threats, like the impacts of climate change, and build more resilient communities.
Donald Trump (R)
The implication of the question is that one must provide more resources to research and public health enterprises to make sure we stay ahead of potential health risks. In a time of limited resources, one must ensure that the nation is getting the greatest bang for the buck. We cannot simply throw money at these institutions and assume that the nation will be well served. What we ought to focus on is assessing where we need to be as a nation and then applying resources to those areas where we need the most work. Our efforts to support research and public health initiatives will have to be balanced with other demands for scarce resources. Working with Congress—the people’s representatives—my administration will work to establish national priorities and then we will work to make sure that adequate resources are assigned to achieve our goals.
Jill Stein (G)
A “Medicare for All” single payer healthcare system would place health as the bottom line rather than industry profits, which is fundamental for improving public health.
A “Medicare for All” system would:
- allow health data to be aggregated on a population-wide scale (much of it is currently held in secret as proprietary information by private companies like health insurers) so that trends and outbreaks could be monitored.
- permit assessment of the health needs of the entire population to be determined so that priorities could be set based on areas of need and funds could be given to institutions that would focus on solutions to priority areas.
- drive public policy to pursue a greater public health and preventative approach because having a healthier population would save money.
- cover every person living in the United States and would remove financial barriers to care. This means that people with infectious diseases and other conditions that impact the population would have access to care when they need it.
Trump’s non-answer answer makes an interesting comment about limited resources. The implication of what the answer that he provided is that we will continue to spend massive amounts of money in areas such as military and security. This answer shows that, no matter what rhetoric he offers, he doesn’t care about the people, choosing to say/indicate/imply that we have to get by with less.
Stein’s answer is a little better than Trump’s simply because she recognizes the need for health care in this country. But it doesn’t address the question. Perhaps her plan is buried in the details but that is not evident in the answer.
As in previous answers, Clinton provides a very comprehensive answer. But I wonder the funds will come from and if she is willing to cut the military and security budget to fund her proposals.