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McCain, Obama Reps to Discuss U.S. Health Policy at Forum Co-Sponsored by AAAS
With the U.S. presidential campaign building to a climax, health-policy advisers to Senators Barack Obama and John McCain will meet Thursday 18 September in a Washington, D.C., forum organized by Scientists and Engineers for America and co-sponsored by AAAS.
Health-related issues—including broad gaps in health care, federal funding for biomedical research, and stem cell research—have been among voters' key concerns in this year's campaign. The forum will offer a rare opportunity to see the McCain and Obama campaigns take the same stage to discuss issues and answer questions on science-related issues.
"Innovation & the Elections: Presidential Perspectives on Health," will be held 18 September from 5 to 6:30 p.m. EDT, just a few blocks from the White House at George Washington University's Jack Morton Auditorium, Media & Public Affairs Building, 805 21st Street, N.W.
The event will be Web-cast live at www.SHARP.SEforA.org/candidate-forum; the broadcast will be recorded and archived for later viewing at the same site. Questions will be accepted from the audience, or they may be submitted in advance to Questions@SEforA.org.
"Americans are deeply concerned about health issues—the growing cost of healthcare, millions of uninsured, stem cell research, preparing for a pandemic flu," said Lesley Stone, executive director of Scientists and Engineers for America (SEA). "This forum will allow for a dialogue with representatives from the McCain and Obama campaigns and the community. It's a chance to find out where each stands on these science-based issues."
"The event is important for two reasons," added Joanne Padrón Carney, director of the AAAS Center for Science, Technology, and Congress. "First, it demonstrates that both campaigns do take some science and health issues seriously and are willing to engage the community in a dialogue. Second, by having a forum that is open to questions from the audience, it is a great opportunity for the research community to probe deeper into the important role that science plays in public health issues."
Carney said planning also is underway for another meeting of the candidates' proxies—this one on energy policy, to be held at Stanford University in mid-October.
Representing the McCain campaign at the 18 September health policy forum will be Jay Khosla, the candidate's health policy advisor. Khosla previously served as health policy counsel to Sen. Bill Frist when Frist was the U.S. Senate majority leader; in that post, his portfolio included health insurance and liability reform. He also served as counsel to the Senate Budget Committee, concentrating on Medicare, health insurance issues, and health information technology.
Representing Obama's campaign will be Dr. Dora Hughes. She has served in the past as deputy director for health for U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. She also has been a senior program officer at The Commonwealth Fund, a national health foundation based in New York City.
The debate will be moderated by Julie Rovner, a health policy reporter for National Public Radio.
Throughout 2008, AAAS and other science, engineering, and health groups have pressed McCain and Obama to meet in a debate on science and technology issues, but the candidates have demurred.
Scientists and Engineers for America is a non-partisan, non-profit educational organization that seeks to support evidence-based decision-making in government. In addition to its focus on the 2008 elections, it is working to build a more engaged and politically active scientific community over the long term.
In addition to AAAS, the 18 September forum is co-sponsored by the American Institute of Biological Sciences; the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology; IEEE-USA; Research!America; the American Chemical Society; the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; and The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, including the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy and the Department of Health Policy.
11 September 2008