Jan 6, 2018

Taxpayer-funded medical research is gaining bipartisan support

A man stands in front of a screen projecting bubbles and which makes it possible to find a balance following a problem of the inner ear. Photo: JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are planning to give the National Institutes of Health (NIH) an additional $2 billion toward their budget this year, which will be the third year in a row they have decided to do so, per the NYT.

Why it matters: Republicans and Democrats struggle to find common ground on health care, but there's bipartisan support for (and fascination by) medical research "with advances in fields like molecular biology, genetics and regenerative medicine," NYT notes.

One theory for why this area of health care has been supported by Republicans and Democrats: “the charisma of the cure, the hope and promise of curing disease, seems to excite members of Congress,” Anthony J. Mazzaschi, a lobbyist at the national organization representing schools of public health, told NYT.

Battle lines: Although there's bipartisan support for taxpayer-funded medical research, their views on health care are still an issue. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would almost inevitably limit people's access to these new treatments discovered through cutting-edge medical research. As Representative Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois told NYT: “If we are spending billions to incentivize the development of new drugs, I think we also have to ensure that patients can afford those drugs. It is almost cruel to find a cure and then have it priced so high that a patient can’t afford it.”

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