DNC: Clinton Accepts Nomination, Promises to Work for All

PHILADELPHIA — The 2016 Democratic National Convention ended late Thursday with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepting the party’s nomination for president, promising that “I will be a President for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving and the successful. For those who vote for me and those who don’t. For all Americans.”

In her acceptance speech, Clinton shared her image of her mother, her role model and the seed of her concern for children. Clinton’s mother was abandoned by her parents and had to raise herself working as a housemaid. Clinton said that when she fought to help disabled children gain equal access to education, while working for the Children’s Defense Fund, it was her mother’s difficult childhood she pictured.

Clinton credited her mother for her own pluck and courage.

“When I tried to hide from the neighborhood bully, she literally blocked the door,” Clinton said. “And she was right. You have to stand up to bullies,” she said, an apparent reference to the GOP nominee, Donald Trump.

She took other, more direct swipes at Trump, portraying him as someone easily provoked and ill-suited to be commander-in-chief — “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons” — and highlighting his privileged upbringing while recounting her own working class roots.

She also attacked Trump for his broad-brush approach to policy while painting her own wonkishness as a virtue.

“It’s true… I sweat the details of policy – whether we’re talking about the exact level of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the number of mental health facilities in Iowa, or the cost of your prescription drugs.”

She continued, “Because it’s not just a detail if it’s your kid — if it’s your family it’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president.”

And she thanked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for bringing economic and social issues to the front of the Democratic agenda.

“And to all of your supporters here and around the country. I want you to know. I’ve heard you. Your cause is our cause. Our country needs your ideas, energy and passion.”

Clinton gave a litany of the Democratic party’s platform: creating more clean energy jobs; developing comprehensive immigration reform; establishing a “living wage” and universal healthcare; appointing Supreme Court justices “to get money out of politics.”

She hinted that she would reject “unfair trade deals,” a subtle nod to the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, which many Sanders fans have opposed arguing that it will raise drug prices and cost American jobs — a treaty she initially backed.

She pledge to protect Social Security as well as a woman’s right to terminate pregnancies.

Earlier in the evening, members of Congress, 9/11 survivors, and celebrities presented their candidate as a woman of courage, compassion and heart, whose resilience has seen her overcome countless challenges.

The women of the Senate spoke of Clinton as a compassionate doer, while military generals praised her toughness and calm temperament and professed their faith in her ability to make life and death decisions.

But no one did a better job of characterizing Clinton than her only child, Chelsea.

Chelsea described a mother who left individual notes for each day she was away on business, and a grandmother who delighted Chelsea’s own daughter Charlotte with countless readings of “Chugga Chugga Choo Choo” over Facetime.

But Chelsea also spoke of the times her mother was tested. In the summer of 1994, Clinton lost her fight for universal healthcare. “She fought her heart out and she lost. … And then she got right back to work, because she thought she could still make a difference for kids,” Chelsea said.

When others ask her about her mother’s ability to never give up on a cause, Chelsea told them her secret: “She never forgets who she’s fighting for.”

Dozens of other speeches lauded Clinton’s character, aiming to capture her authenticity and her concern for others. From the 9/11 survivor and amputee who shared in a video how Clinton promised she would dance at her wedding and followed through on that oath, to the parents of Humayan S.M. Khan, a Muslim American who served in the U.S. Army and was killed in Iraq.

“Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future,” said Khizr Kahn of Virginia, Humayan’s father. “Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy,” he said, holding up a pocket-sized edition.

“Vote for the healer. Vote for the strongest, most qualified candidate.”

Organizers even recruited some Republicans to endorse Clinton, including Doug Elmets, a former Reagan Administration official, who throughout last week’s convention in Cleveland drew comparisons to Ronald Reagan.

“I knew Ronald Reagan, I worked for Ronald Reagan – Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan! … Trump is a petulant, dangerous unbalanced reality star who will … alienate allies.”

And the women of Congress also stood up for Clinton.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) described how, as Secretary of State, Clinton helped her connect couples in Minnesota with orphan children following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. She expected that someone at Clinton’s level would pass the task off on an underling, but she didn’t.

“That’s Hillary the friend who takes the call, the mom who gets it done right,” said Klobuchar.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) praised Clinton’s work in fighting conservatives who tried to block access to Plan B emergency contraception.

“We refused to back down until the FDA did their job and put science and women first,” she said.

Another star of the evening was Sarah McBride, the first transgender person to speak at the convention of a major party.

“But despite our progress so much work remains. … Tomorrow we can be respected and protected especially if Hillary Clinton is elected president.”

DNC: Pro-Life Dems Want More Inclusion

PHILADELPHIA — Democrats for Life of America spoke about growing the Democratic party by electing more pro-life legislators at a luncheon downtown on Wednesday.

The group also spoke favorably of Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick, but stopped short of an endorsement.

“Being anti-abortion does not make you pro-life,” said Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards (D), the luncheon’s keynote speaker who received the Gov. Casey Whole Life Leadership Award. Being truly pro-life means giving women the support they need to raise their children, he said.

When his wife was pregnant with their daughter they learned she would have spina bifida. Edwards said their doctor recommended abortion and took his wife to visit children with the disease at different levels of severity.

His daughter is now 24 years old and training to become a public school counselor.

Edwards said conservatives have difficulty squaring how a person can be both pro-life and a Democrat. The same Catholic beliefs that inspire his pro-life views also inform his support for Medicaid expansion and equal pay for women, he said.

“We don’t just toss people aside,” Kristen Day, the executive director of Democrats for Life, told MedPage Today, in explaining the difference between Democrats for Life and pro-life Republicans. Many women have abortions are poor and lack social support. They are often pressured by boyfriends into getting abortions.

“We want to look at all those reasons [for having abortions] and try to pick away at the reasons,” she said.

To that end, her organization helped draft a bill and ultimately got the Pregnancy Assistance Fund, a $25 million grant program, included in the Affordable Care Act. The group also supported raising the minimum wage, giving parental leave, and expanding perinatal hospice.

Day said one in three Democrats is pro-life but in Congress many Democrats remain silent on their views.

“Right now our party is in trouble,” said Day pointing to a colored-coded red and blue map of the United States.

“Since 2008, we’ve lost 912 legislative seats, 30 state legislative chambers… 11 governorships have been lost, 69 U.S. House Seats … and 13 U.S. Senate seats,” she said during the luncheon.

One way for Democrats to win back Republican seats is to embrace pro-life candidates.

“We [Democrats] claim to be the big tent party but the platform says that only this group of people [pro-abortion rights] can be allowed in. Around the country Democratic party chairmen are telling people that they can’t run if they’re pro-life and this platform endorses that kind of philosophy,” she told MedPage Today.

When asked about the recently chosen Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), “I think he’ll be a friend and maybe help moderate and open up the party,” Day said. However, she noted, “We only endorse candidates who are both pro-life and Democrat. Those are the criteria.” This means it would not endorse Clinton nor Kaine. But the group also will not back a pro-life Republican.

Edwards said, “I see in him a lot of the things that I aspire to be.” Kaine continues to personally oppose abortion, but on his Senate website, he says that “I support the right of women to make their own health and reproductive decisions …. The right way to [reduce abortions] is through education and access to health care and contraception rather than by restricting and criminalizing women’s reproductive decisions. For that reason, I oppose efforts to weaken Roe v. Wade.”

On the other hand, some group members didn’t trust the pro-life credentials of the Republican candidates. “I’m convinced that Mike [Pence, the Republican vice-presidential candidate] is pro-life window dressing. He’s a prop for a Trump administration, which will likely not deliver on their promises to pro-life people in the party,” said Rev. Rob Schenck, president and lead missionary of Faith and Action in the Nation’s Capital, a Christian outreach group that lobbies Congress, who attended the luncheon. Schenck said he’s not convinced Trump is pro-life “no matter what he says.”

Schenck has not voted for a Democrat since Pres. Jimmy Carter.

“Now it’s time for me to look again at the party of my youth.”

DNC: Clinton Camp Accused of Silencing Sanders Backer

PHILADELPHIA — Some nurses attending the Democratic National Convention here fought to highlight what they viewed as the silencing of a prominent advocate for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

MedPage Today spoke with Deborah Burger, RN, president of the California Nurses Association and co-president of National Nurses United, one of the first unions to endorse Sanders, and Sandy Reding, RN, board of directors for the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. They were upset that Nina Turner, a former senator from Ohio and Sanders backer, was apparently removed from Tuesday’s convention speaker list.

“We stand for the same things that Bernie Sanders stands for,” Reding said. “Our values are his values. … If there’s an injustice to one there’s an injustice to all.”

Reding is a delegate and Burger is a member of the Rules Committee.

Click here to watch the video.

DNC: Nurses Group Endorses Clinton

PHILADELPHIA — “When you want to know what’s going on in healthcare ask a nurse,” said Pam Cipriano, PhD, MN, president of the American Nurses Association at a health policy briefing hosted by Real Clear Politics here on Tuesday.

Not only do nurses know “the dirty little secrets”of the system, they also have answers to some of its biggest problems.

Nurses play a critical role in prevention and wellness promoting immunizations, teaching patients how manage stress, eat healthier and adhere to their medications. And preventing illness, particularly chronic illness, is key not only to helping patients live better lives but also to curbing healthcare costs.

The ANA has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, because it believes she will strengthen the Affordable Care Act, expand Medicaid and ensure health equity for all Americans.

“The American Nurses Association wants the public to know that we’re really their partners. We’re their advocates,” she said.

Click here to watch the video.

DNC: Dems Make History With Clinton Nomination

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:

“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.