Final Presidential Debate: Answers on Health and Gun Safety Research?

Campaign for Cures

The Campaign for Cures Election 2016 blog features news, analysis, commentary and data about the presidential candidates and congressional races in key states on issues relevant to medical progress. Janice Lloyd, former USA Today senior editor and health reporter, manages The Campaign for Cures blog. You can reach Janice at   Follow Campaign for Cures, a national voter education initiative, on Twitter and Facebook and visit

Final Presidential Debate: Answers on Health and Gun Safety Research?

Janice Lloyd

During the final presidential debate Wednesday night, two of the topics hit at the core of how to make America’s streets and homes safer and citizens’ lives healthier and more productive.

On matters of health: Moderator Chris Wallace asked both candidates how they’d fix the sluggish economy and create jobs.

For the millions of Americans suffering from physical and mental diseases or caring for someone with a disease, research that finds new treatments and improves the quality of life needs to be a higher priority. In fact, federally-funded research supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country.

Did we hear either candidate make a commitment to investing more in medical and health research? Yes and no.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton discussed her plans to make the biggest investment in good paying jobs since World War II. She didn’t mention investing more in research Wednesday night, but in her detailed plan that can be found on her website, she says her commitment during her first 100 days in office includes this goal:

“Support scientific research and technological innovation. We must ensure that America remains at the forefront of scientific and technological innovation in the 21st century. We will make bold new investments in scientific research, which can create entirely new industries and the good-paying jobs of the future. Together, we can achieve bold research goals, like preventing, effectively treating, and making an Alzheimer’s cure possible by 2025. And we will pursue public policies that spur technological innovation and ensure that technology is a force for broad-based growth.”

During the debate, Republican candidate Donald Trump commented that her policy would make the federal debt soar, which she denied and added she believes in investing in the American people and taking care of children and families.

Trump plans to reduce taxes in order to create jobs and change trade rules to help industries in the U.S. The plans don’t add up, Wallace said, noting that conservatives have expressed worries about his plan to cut taxes. In Trump’s response to Wallace, he didn’t address those concerns.

Recently, Trump committed to tackling the opioid abuse problem, which would likely create more services and jobs throughout the country.

Prior to those remarks, he has said that in a tight economy, he’d have to weigh how much money to spend on health research and that the National Institutes of Health has not always used federal dollars efficiently.

On matters of gun safety: Another key issue in last night’s debate was the second amendment. Backed by NRA, Trump vowed to protect the Second Amendment.

Clinton said she would like to see some regulations.

In reference to a Supreme Court case, Clinton said “what the District of Columbia was trying to do was to protect toddlers from guns and so they wanted people with guns to safely store them. And the court didn't accept that reasonable regulation, but they've accepted many others. So I see no conflict between saving people's lives and defending the Second Amendment.”

Side note: Of interest in this conversation is the lack of federal funding given to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study gun violence. CDC studies have saved millions of lives, establishing the mandatory seatbelt rules for all passengers, car seats for young toddlers and children, and drain covers in swimming pools and spas.

So yes and no: the presidential candidates didn’t say all the words or make all the commitments we wanted to hear last night about making Americans safer and healthier, but it’s not too late to read up, if you’re still undecided about who to vote for on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Visit for detailed responses from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump about scientific issues.


Add comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Adds node titles to internal links found in content (as HTML "title" attribute).
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Presidential Candidates Should Participate in Debate on Science

Source: A Research!America and poll of U.S. adults conducted in partnership with Zogby Analytics in September 2015.