Sen. Bernie Sanders has unveiled a new proposal to tackle HIV and AIDS just days after lambasting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his opponent in the Democratic presidential primary, for statements she made about Nancy Reagan’s response to the virus.
The Vermont Senator has proposed establishing a $3 billion a year “prize fund” that would reward medical developers for creating new and innovative treatments that can be used to fight HIV and AIDS. The plan also calls for generic versions of any drug or treatment to be available as soon as the Food and Drug Administration approves it.
A key component of Sanders’ campaign platform is expanding Medicare to cover all Americans—healthcare is a “right, not a privilege,” the candidate’s website says. Though overall transmission of the virus is down compared to its peak in the 1980s, it remains prevalent among certain groups including young men who have sex with men, especially young men of color.
The change comes just days after Sanders rival Clinton praised the late Nancy Reagan’s work to combat the AIDS virus, despite the fact that the Reagan administration was slow to respond to the crisis. The Secretary of State later walked her statements back.