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Presidential Candidates Should Focus On Global Health Leadership

The Hill: Big-hearted, self-serving and right
Tom Daschle, former U.S. senator from South Dakota and Senate majority leader from 2001 to 2003, and Bill Frist, former U.S. senator from Tennessee and Senate majority leader from 2003 to 2007

“As the 2016 primaries unfold, it’s time for candidates of both parties to focus on expanding the big-hearted policies that have made this nation so exceptional. In recent years, the most effective of those policies has been global health — that is, putting U.S. resources to work saving lives in developing nations by spreading health treatments that work here at home. … Now, a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, released in January, has discovered that, while Americans are proud of the accomplishments of programs like PEPFAR, a majority (53 percent) believe we are already ‘doing enough to improve health in developing countries.’ And a majority (55 percent) believe that ‘spending more money won’t make much difference in improving health in developing countries.’ Those are disturbing statistics. They stray far from reality. The truth is that the U.S. has the innovation and the resources to put an end to rampant deaths not only from AIDS but from such scourges as malaria, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C. Based on the PEPFAR experience, we have proof that health will be improved dramatically — and Americans themselves will benefit. … As the presidential campaign progresses, we believe that Americans will want to hear candidates appeal to what Abraham Lincoln referred to as ‘the better angels of our nature.’ Wiping out diseases in poorer countries is simply the right thing to do. But Americans are pragmatic people, too, and, as the Kaiser research shows, we want our contributions to be both cost-effective and beneficial to our own nation as well. As our research has shown, programs like PEPFAR meet all of those tests: humanitarian, practical, and self-serving. In this election season, Americans must require candidates for public office who demonstrate the leadership we will need to ensure global — and national — health” (2/29).