Republicans Once Championed Public Health. What Happened?

In the late 1990s, Republicans were focused on boosting public health spending, with significant increases for scientific research and the creation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) under President George W. Bush. However, in recent years, the GOP has shifted its stance, with proposals to cut funding for the Department of Health and Human Services and diminished bipartisan support for PEPFAR. This shift is attributed to the increasing polarization of Washington, the influence of Donald Trump, and a century-old trend of conservative hostility toward big government. The support for public health officials and vaccination among Republicans has also waned since the pandemic.

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