2020 Birddog Questions
Below are sample birddogger questions for 2020 presidential candidates, crowdsourced from our network and vetted by experts and allies.
The best birddog actions involve "winning the room" (i.e. making sure the room understands and empathizes with you), so the questions avoid unnecessary technical jargon and partisan red flags, and aim for easily understandable requests that candidates of any political party could say "yes" to.
Remember: A "yes" should look good to the room, and a "no" should expose the candidate as someone unworthy of voter support.
Will you fight for a government-guaranteed health system that ensures every single one of us can walk into a health center close to where we live, get the care we need when we need it, and then go home, paying, at most, a very modest sum that we can afford out-of-pocket?
- One plan that would get us there is called Medicare For All, lead by Pramila Jayapal in the House* and Bernie Sanders in the Senate**, which is set up to boldly expand the quality of care, eliminate co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses, and cover ALL of the medical needs we have. Will you co-sponsor that bill?
If "NO": Will you name the policies in the bill you are for and against?
We pay outrageous prices for medicines, mostly because drug companies abuse their monopolies. Will you reduce prices by revoking the patent monopolies given to drug companies, if they are charging us in America way more than they charge for the same product in other countries? For example, if a company is charging the next 5 richest countries 40-50% less than they're charging us, will you require the company to cut us the same deal, or else allow the drug to be licensed to a generic company?
FOLLOW UP (FOCUSED ON RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT):
- Drug prices are killing us, and our R&D system rewards "me-too" drugs more than new cures. The vast majority of new medicines approved by the FDA were invented substantially with taxpayer funded research grants to universities. Will you stop excessive drug prices and increase real innovation, by adding public interest protections to government R&D contracts? Will you require the NIH to include a fair pricing requirement in R&D grants?
FOLLOW UP (FOCUSED ON PATENT MONOPOLIES):
- A bill that addresses the insidious nature of patent monopolies in the American drug market is the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act of 2019, lead by Lloyd Doggett in the House* and Sherrod Brown in the Senate**. The bill would allow the US Government to leverage monopolies to reduce drug pricing instead of patient's lives. Will you co-sponsor this bill?
Donald Trump said, in his State of the Union, that he wanted to end the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. by 2030, but his own CDC Director says we can do it by 2025 and the senior NIH officials say we have the tools to do it almost immediately. Will you commit to accelerate this plan and end HIV by 2025 by getting everyone on treatment or PrEP, scaling up community health access, and supporting the additional policies missing from Trump's plan that we'll need to realize this goal, like affordable housing for people with chronic diseases, and universal, low-cost healthcare?
- Will you 'repeal and replace' the current Administration's damaging policies that hurt and discriminate against communities of color, LGBT communities, and threaten everyone's healthcare?
Will you bring the fight against opioid addiction to the level it needs to be by fighting for at least $100 billion for communities and local health authorities, and rapid, universal access to addiction treatment medicine, providing overdose prevention tools to many more people?
- A bill that would get us there is the CARE Act, introduced by Senator Warren and Rep. Cummings, and modeled after the Ryan White Care Act against AIDS. Will you co-sponsor the CARE Act?
The current President said he's going to end the HIV epidemic by 2030 in the United States, but he proposes cuts every year to one of the most successful, bipartisan initiatives in history: the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which has saved 17 million lives already. Will you restore this program with enough funding to get back on track to get life-saving care and treatment to enough people to end the global pandemic worldwide by 2030?