John Edwards continues to lead all candidates running for President, both Democrat and Republican, in presenting bold and thoughtful programs, ideas and visions. His proposals are detailed and direct, contrasting sharply with some of his peers in both parties, who have offered cliché plans that patronize voters and fail to seriously consider the severe issues facing America. On Iraq, global warming, trade, poverty, energy, and especially healthcare, Edwards has offered comprehensive plans that force his rivals to play catch-up. Just last week, Senator Clinton finally offered a healthcare proposal strikingly similar to Edwards’ plan, which had been thoughtfully conceived and promptly delivered to the American people nearly eight months ago!
On Monday, he outlined a proposal to fight HIV/AIDS and, in doing so, was the first candidate to put forth a comprehensive plan to deal with the epidemic. Building upon his bold proposal for universal healthcare, Edwards’ HIV/AIDS plan has four key objectives:
- Guaranteeing health insurance for every American – including HIV/AIDS patients – the care they need when they need it and expanding Medicaid to cover HIV-positive individuals before they reach later stages of disabilities and AIDS.
- Fighting the disease in the African American and Latino communities, where the harm is now greatest.
- Calling for universal access to HIV/AIDS medicine across the world, investing $50 billion over five years to meet that goal.
- Changing the policies that protect big drug companies, at the expense of people dying of HIV/AIDS in developing countries.
Further, his plan provides 13 specific strategies for dealing with the crisis at home and abroad:
- Guaranteeing treatment for everyone with true Universal Health Care by 2012
- Creating a national HIV/AIDS strategy
- Focusing on disparities
- Supporting Ryan White Care programs and HOPWA
- Preventing HIV/AIDS with scientifically-proven strategies, not political ideology
- Strengthening America's research agenda
- Providing universal access to treatment globally
- Using trade policy to save lives
- Expending the role of multilateral organizations
- Rescinding the global gag rule
- Creating a cabinet level post on global poverty
- Promoting women's rights and universal education
- Supporting debt cancellation
This week, community activists praised Edwards’ leadership, including:
Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director, Global AIDS Alliance FUND
”This is plan is both bold and achievable, and we are thrilled to see Senator Edwards' tremendous leadership on this issue. It's exciting to see such a realistic, science-based approach to the epidemic in the US and globally. Senator Edwards has recognized this is what we need to do to save lives – now every candidate in both parties should recognize it, too. We look forward to seeing what they propose so we can compare their plans.
Rebecca Haag, Executive Director, The AIDS Action Council
”Senator Edwards becomes the first candidate to respond to the HIV/AIDS 'Call to Action' calling on every Presidential candidate to commit to developing a results-oriented national AIDS strategy to reduce HIV infection rates, ensure access to care and treatment and eliminate racial disparities.”
John Edwards' full HIV/AIDS plan is available at: http://www.johnedwards.com/issues/health-care/hiv-aids/