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Eradicating Zika and Other Devastating Diseases


Good morning, friends, and happy Tuesday! We hope your Monday night was better than Ryan Lochte’s. On a positive note, he’s making progress: He didn’t trash a bathroom in response.

Whether you even care about Lochte’s performance on “Dancing ith the Stars,” you undoubtedly care about the prevention of devastating diseases. If you care more about Lochte, email me – we should talk.

Since the time of the founding, the federal government has worked to halt the spread of infectious diseases. It was even a major topic in President John Adams’s 1798 State of the Union Address – we looked it up!

The commitment to public health and welfare has paid invaluable dividends.

Scientists and medical researchers have eradicated the threat of debilitating and sometimes fatal diseases, including smallpox, diphtheria, and polio.

While research has made much progress, new threats to public health (and our national security) continue to emerge, including Ebola, Zika, and various fatal strains of influenza viruses.

In a white paper released yesterday, Neil Bradley, chief strategy officer with the Conservative Reform Network, emphasizes the need for the federal government to continue to invest in basic medical research. In “The Case for Increasing American Investment in Medical Research,” Bradley writes,

While we have successfully cured many of the diseases of the past, we face new diseases today that threaten the well-being and longevity of millions of Americans, the finances of our health care system, and even our national security. Confronting these new challenges requires that policymakers rightsize and reform the government’s investment in medical research. There is no better opportunity to do just that than the beginning of new presidential administration. And as Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health, noted in recent testimony before Congress, “This investment could not come at a better time. We are in the midst of a remarkable stream of scientific advances spurred by dramatic advances in biotechnology.” Policymakers should seize this moment.

Indeed, they should, particularly as they complete the fiscal year 2017 budget process and look to future budgets.