PHILADELPHIA — Hillary Clinton became the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major party as the Democratic National Convention sought to achieve unity in a fractious year.
“The ayes have it,” said convention chair Rep. Marcia Fudge (D- Ohio). The votes were recorded in a state-by-state roll call in which supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders cast their votes for their candidate, but once Sanders’ home state of Vermont cast 22 votes for its native son, Sanders asked the chair to forego the roll-call to make the vote unanimous for Clinton.
A cohort of Sanders’ supporters then left the convention in protest, and continued that protest outside the convention hall, but near the media tent.
Walter Tsou, MD, MPH,a former Philadelphia health commissioner, said he and his fellow activists will continue their protests despite Sanders’ capitulation. They plan to stuff themselves with beans and use flatulence as a means of expressing their distaste for an election process they believe “stinks.”
In an interview, Tsou told MedPage Today that he supports Sanders vision for single payer healthcare, which he argues would ultimately save money and simplify the practice of medicine.
Inside the convention, the keynote speaker was former President Bill Clinton, who took on the mantle of candidate’s spouse and delivered a speech that began with a line that many said sounded as if it came from the pen of Harper Lee: “In the spring of 1971, I met a girl …”
The former president took the audience through his courtship of Hillary Rodham, a fellow student at Yale Law School, and guided them through scenes from her life and their life together.
He described her as a “warrior” and “the best darn change-maker I’ve ever met in my entire life.”
Year by year, and accomplishment by accomplishment, Clinton extolled the virtues of his wife, including what he said was her key role in the passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which helped 8 million children gain insurance — “there are a lot of things that she got done in that bill piece by piece, pushing that rock up that hill” — with helping disabled children gain equal access to education, and with fighting to ensure first and second responders who suffered illnesses following the 9/11 terror attacks received adequate care.
He moved more quickly over his wife’s failures, which included the failed Clinton Health Care plan that she spearheaded and there was no mention of her email problems or handling of Benghazi when she served as Secretary of State.
The night was orchestrated to highlight Clinton supporters and there were many:
- Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D- Calif.) spoke of Clinton’s support of women’s reproductive rights.
- Former Sen. Tom Harkin (D- Iowa) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) praised Clinton as a champion of the disabled.
- Entertainers Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Elizabeth Banks, and Meryl Streep gave a celebrity sheen to the proceedings.
“Hillary Clinton will be our first woman president,” said Streep, who spoke of her “grit” and “grace” and cast her in the company of other female crusaders from Sandra Day O’Connor to Shirley Chisholm to Amelia Earhart.
At the close of the evening, a series of black and white photos flashed on the jumbo screens in the arena, stills of former presidents in chronological order, then all the images together filled the screen, which appeared to then shatter — a digital metaphor for glass ceiling — to reveal a live feed of Clinton from her home in Chappaqua, NY.
“If there are any little girls out there who stayed up late to watch. Let me just say I may become the first woman president but one of you is next,” she said as the camera zoomed out once again reveal a dozen or so girls surrounding her.
Earlier that day health policy in the next administration was on the minds of many at satellite events around the city.
“[The campaign] will be definitely talking about healthcare; obviously it’s a huge part of our economy, but in addition to that … what she wants to do is build on the Affordable Care Act; she’s talked a lot about it throughout this campaign and will continue to do so — in particular about protecting women’s health; you’ll hear more about that this week,” Karen Finney, senior adviser to “Hillary for America “told MedPage Today, after a press briefing.
At the Union League, a members-only club on South Broad Street, policy experts spoke about the health policy decisions facing the next president at a panel hosted by Real Clear Politics and sponsored by Walgreens, American Nurses Association, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, and the American Podiatric Medical Association.
If Republicans win the White House and hold the Congress, President Donald Trump would be expected to uphold his campaign promises of repealing and replacing Obamacare and block granting for Medicaid, said Chris Jennings, founder of Jennings Policy Strategy and a former healthcare advisor to President Obama.
“To me these things would be devastating for the country, it would be devastating, for the economy, it would be devastating most importantly for the patients and the providers who take care of them.”
A President Clinton, on the other hand, would focus on improving, amending, and strengthening President Obama’s signature healthcare law, he said.
Another immediate concern for the next president of the United States is the reauthorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, which is slated to expire next year.
“If it’s Hillary Clinton it’s going to be how do I build, how do I strengthen, how do I integrate.”
But if Trump is elected, he would be gauging “whether we can,” said Jennings.