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2020 Vision: Health in the 21st Century
25 years of rejecting politics and focusing our country's spotlight on critical issues like drug use, vaccines, AIDS, and breast cancer;
25 years of helping this country improve the way it delivers health care and educates our workforce; and
25 years of showing the world how sustained victories in basic science can help us win the ultimate war against some of our greatest enemies, such as stroke, cancer, and heart disease.
That has never been more important than right now, because from kitchen tables to the halls of Congress, we are engaged in a historic debate about the role of the federal government.
This debate is about much more than the size of our budget and the way we allocate our precious resources. At its heart, this debate is about our values. It's about who we are; it's about what values mean to American children; and, as we peer into the future, it's about the kind of legacy we want to leave our children.
Fifty-five years ago, when President Roosevelt dedicated the NIH campus, he summed up our national commitment to biomedical research in this way. He said: "I dedicate it to the underlying philosophy of public health. To the conservation of life. To the wise use of the vital resources of the nation. I voice for America and for the stricken world our hopes, our prayers, our faith in the power of . . . humanity."
Since World War II, our historic commitment to biomedical research has spawned a steady march of progress—from the breaking of the DNA code to the mapping of the human genome. Since World War II, through years of Republican and Democratic leadership, that hope—that vision and that commitment to science—has not wavered. It must not waver today.
Like war and peace, revolutions in science have defined the ages, transformed our lives, and altered the very course of global history. Like war and peace, investments in science guarantee our national security—and must remain a national priority.
That's why, at the Department of Health and Human Services, we recruited the most brilliant scientific minds in the country to lead our national effort—leaders like Phil Lee, Harold Varmus, Bill Paul, Rick Klausner, Francis Collins, and Zack Hall.
That's why the president created the National Science and Technology Council to give us an integrated research and development budget that focuses on key national goals.
That's why, under the remarkable leadership of David Kessler, we've slashed drug approval times by 50 percent since 1987.
That's why we've supported the new science education standards from day one—so that all Americans are introduced to science from the time they start crawling.
Finally, that's why, in a time of zero growth across government, our administration has fought—and will continue to fight—for steady increases in research.