Campaign Promises

Departments -> Health & Human Services -> Research

ItemHealth & Human Services
HE-49 The Promise: "As President, I will lift the current administration's ban on federal funding of research on embryonic stem cell lines created after August 9, 2001 through executive order."
When/Where: Science Debate 2008, Obama Response to Top Science Questions, 08/30/08.
Status:Embryonic Stem Cells (ESC) are cells that can morph into any cell of the body. Potentially, they could someday cure such ailments as spinal cord injuries, quadriplegia, diabetes, and Parkinson's Disease.

President Obama signed Executive Order 13505 on 03/09/09 entitled "Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells". This Executive Order revoked the Presidential Statement of 08/09/01 limiting federal funding for embryonic stem cell research as well as its supplementing Executive Order 13435 dated 06/20/07.

According to Executive Order 13505, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Director of National Institutes of Health (NIH), "may support and conduct responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cell research, to the extent permitted by law."

The U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C. ruled on 08/23/10 that federal funding could not be used for Embryonic Stem Cell (ESC) research under the Dickey-Wicker Amendment (P.L. 104-99) of CY1996 until that law was changed by Congress. On 07/27/11, the same court ruled (in Sherley v. Sebelius) in favor of federally funded embryonic stem cell research because such research was not "research in which a human...embryos are destroyed." The ruling further stated that the "policy question is not answered by any congressional law, and it has fallen on three presidential administrations to provide an answer. For all three such administrations, Democratic and Republican, the answer has been to permit federal funding. They have differed only as to the path forward."

The NIH authorized the first 13 lines of cells on 12/02/09. By end-CY2016, nearly 400 lines were eligible for NIH-funded research as listed in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry.

This promise was fulfilled.
HE-50 The Promise: "I will ensure that all research on stem cells is conducted ethically and with rigorous oversight."
When/Where: Science Debate 2008, Obama Response to Top Science Questions, 08/30/08.
Status:Executive Order 13505 lifting restrictions on stem cell research that was signed on 03/09/09 by President Obama also directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue new guidelines for the research within 120 days (by mid-07/09). According to President Obama's Executive Order, these guidelines were to include "provisions establishing appropriate safeguards," and should be updated "periodically..."

On 04/23/09, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published draft stem cell guidelines for public comment. By 05/26/09, nearly 50,000 comments on the draft guidelines had been received and NIH published them on its web site. The final guidelines were published with an effective date of 07/07/09.

This promise was fulfilled.
HE-51 The Promise: "...will establish an independent institute to guide reviews and research on comparative effectiveness, so that Americans and their doctors will have accurate and objective information to make the best decisions for their health and well-being."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan to Lower Health Care Costs and Ensure Affordable, Accessible Health Coverage For All, dated 10/03/08.
Status:The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 signed into law by President Obama on 02/17/09 started promise fulfillment by investing $700M for "comparative effectiveness research".

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) signed into law by President Obama on 03/23/10, a new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute was created to fund comparisons of medical treatments.

This promise was fulfilled.
HE-52 The Promise: "...making steady increases that double NIH's [National Institutes of Health] budget over ten years..."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan for Science and Innovation, dated 09/25/08.
Status:The NIH budget in FY2009 was enacted at $30.5B. This was the amount to "double" by FY2019. The FY2009 authorization was supplemented by $10.4B under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 for a total of $40.9B. The following represents NIH budget authorizations during subsequent years:

As reflected above, the promised "steady increases" that could have led to doubling the NIH budget in 10 years did not happen during President Obama's two terms in office.

This promise was not fulfilled.