Guns — or medicine? A doctor’s call, survey responses, and more in a presidential campaign edition of what we’re reading

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A doctor’s call for healthy foreign policy debate: John May, a South Florida corrections physician and founder of Health through Walls, a nonprofit that brings medical system support to prisons in developing countries, wrote this op-ed piece for the local newspaper in the county where the candidates were scheduled to hold their final debate on foreign policy. Why not, he suggested, include in the discussion their stances on efforts that had not been touched on in earlier debates, although they are efforts that help protect Americans, enhance our status in the world and build more stable governments and economies? The candidates could do that, and add substance  to their foreign policy talk, if they shared their visions of America’s global health response. May, who has seen Haiti’s national penitentiary emptied more than once over the years pointed out that as prisoners fled disease-breeding conditions there, they took their illnesses with them. Ending disease “requires treatment of all,” he said, and hoped that the candidates would not miss the opportunity to address a topic that is fundamental to our humanity and our well-being.

The candidates, and moderator Bob Shieffer, as it turned out, did miss that opportunity, leaving us searching for other clues.

Romney’s research stand: Governor Romney sent in a statement last week to Your Candidates, Your Health, a survey of congressional and presidential candidates launched by Research!America and partners in 2006. The survey includes questions on federal investment in medical research and innovation, funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration, all of which play roles in in building global HIV and tuberculosis treatment responses. As mentioned earlier here, President Obama had already submitted his responses to the survey’s 13 questions. Gov. Romney’s statement is now posted on the site as well. You also can search for congressional candidates by name or location and compare their responses.

Candidates on women’s health and reproductive care: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s October Women’s Issue Brief Assessing The Presidential Candidates’ positions On Women’s Health Coverage and Reproductive Care looks mainly at domestic policy issues, but also the candidates’ stances on international family planning efforts. The Mexico City Policy, which barred overseas nonprofits receiving U.S. money from providing abortions or abortion counseling, was instituted by President Reagan, rescinded by President Clinton, reinstated by President Bush, and rescinded once again by President Obama. The brief notes that Gov. Romney has said that if elected he, in turn, will reinstate the policy, also known as by critics as the “Global Gag Rule.”

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