Second Presidential Debate Misses Chance to Discuss Urgent Medical Research Issues

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

Second Presidential Debate Misses Chance to Discuss Urgent Medical Research Issues

Janice Lloyd

Another debate down. Another disappointment for Americans looking for an intelligent discussion about many issues, including the role of medical research and innovation. During the second presidential debate Sunday night, an undecided voter gave Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump a chance to discuss how to improve Americans’ health in a question regarding their approach to reducing health care costs and improving coverage.

Both candidates focused on what’s working and what’s not working with Obamacare but failed to discuss the role of research and innovation, and prevention in reducing cost and improving health outcomes.

At other venues and on her website, Clinton has outlined plans addressing the urgent need to increase research funding and speed treatments for people suffering from a wide range of devastating diseases from mental health, to cancer, and Alzheimer’s, and to create a public health emergency fund to help the U.S. respond more quickly to emergencies like the Zika virus.

Trump’s health policies are lacking details. When asked if he thought Congress should approve additional funding for Zika, Trump told the Miami Herald “let some of the funds they’re asking for come in.”

When asked about how he’d support Alzheimer’s at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, Trump said “it was a total top priority.”

What’s a priority for Americans, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by Research!America, is to hear their candidates talk about health issues. A strong majority (80%) said it is important for the next President and next Congress to assign a high priority to putting health research and innovation to work to assure continued medical progress.


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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.