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: 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.

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.”

RNC: And Now for a Different Take on Obamacare ACA

CLEVELAND — Could a Republican administration repeal Obamacare? That was the topic up for discussion at a briefing Tuesday, held outside the Republican National Convention.

“I do not believe … that my political party is going to be able to put together a complete repeal, and I don’t think it should,” said Tommy Thompson, JD, a fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, who served as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush, and four terms as governor of Wisconsin.

Thompson was the keynote guest at the briefing hosted by RealClear Politics, and sponsored by Walgreens, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the American Nurses Association, and the American Podiatric Medical Association.

He said attempting full repeal would create “real chaos. The Affordable Care Act has got lots of problems, but there’s some good parts of it, and most Republicans will recognize the good parts,” he told reporters after the briefing.

Republicans should focus on fixing Obamacare, by reducing its taxes, lowering premiums, and giving people an incentive to buy health insurance, he said.

“Why is it that you and I don’t get a tax deduction when we pay for health insurance, but the company that employs us does?” he said at the briefing.

Thompson argued for giving everyone a refundable tax credit to incentivize more people to buy into plans. He also said that the government should maintain parity laws, so that sick people aren’t charged more or kicked off their health plans — he called the latter move “un-American.”

When asked who the best person would be to navigate these “meaningful changes”, Thompson didn’t hesitate: “Without a doubt, Donald Trump.”

Policy analysts and journalists speaking on a separate panel were more skeptical, given Trump’s unpredictable nature and his changing opinions on healthcare reform.

“Donald Trump would be well-advised to outsource the making of policy to [Speaker] Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.),” said Lanhee Chen, PhD, JD, a research fellow at the conservative think tank, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. Chen was also the policy director for the Romney-Ryan 2012 campaign.

“Presumably, that’s what would happen,” he said, and then clarified “In an ideal world for conservatives, I think that’s what would happen.”

“I think we are in a phase of the conversation now, where we’re trying to do our best to imagine what a Trump administration would look like, when in reality, none of us really knows. This is like a freak wild card,” he stated.

Chen told MedPage Today, that full repeal would be “tough” but “a large amount of repeal” could happen through the budget reconciliations process, which requires fewer votes — a path that has already been tested.

If Trump wins the election, Chen anticipates a Republican administration would attempt repeal.

“It’s important for him to realize that just saying you’re going to repeal Obamacare alone is not enough, that there has to be a coherent plan to replace it,” he said, which is where turning to Ryan’s blueprint makes sense. “Otherwise, politically I think he’s in very dangerous water.”

If repeal weren’t achieved, Chen argued for developing more tailored plans to fit people’s needs that cost less, made possible by loosening some of the essential benefits requirements; paring back subsidies; developing a more “open architecture” to create a more competitive marketplace; and giving states more flexibility around Medicaid expansion on the front-end, instead of relying on the back-door 1115 waiver process.

If Secretary Hillary Clinton wins the presidency and Republicans maintain a majority in Congress, “they’ll want to try to work together,” Chen said. “It will be incumbent on [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Paul Ryan to lead that negotiation with her.”

RNC: Docs Protest as Trump Takes Stage

CLEVELAND — In the semi-darkness of Cleveland’s Public Square, activists Thursday night held signs glowing with tiny fluorescent bulbs that read S-T-A-T for “Stand Together Against Trump.”

It was nearly 10 p.m. and the group was just a few minutes walk from the stage where Donald Trump would formally accept the nomination at the Republican National Convention. They sang and chanted and waved and gave speeches, determined not to leave until he did.

STAT, a group of physicians, nurses and other professionals, first began publicly protesting the Trump campaign in March ahead of the Ohio primaries. It does not endorse a candidate and does not represent a single party.

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Aside from voting, Fatima Fadlalla, MD, a resident in internal medicine in Cleveland, said she’s never been active politically, but this time was different. She stepped away from the 30 or 40 people chanting on the marble steps in a grassy corner of the square — home to the iconic Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

“When the language that you hear in the election … when the leader of an entire party is, you know, spouting such language and using such divisive words and framing things in such a way that is so skewed and so against what you inherently believe, it is absolutely your responsibility to say something and to stand out, because you don’t want to look back in time and look back in history and think I had a moment and I didn’t seize it, and I didn’t say what I should have.”

As a physician, Fadlalla is concerned about Trump’s impact on her patients and the state of healthcare in the country. “It’s amazing how far he’s managed to come without actually making any specific policy remarks. But when you have somebody who frames certain arguments in such a way that is so narrow and so alienating, it’s hard to imagine that that type of individual will then be able to see some of the greater issues that are surrounding our patients and the population that we deal with, whether they’re inner-city or rural people.”

She said she worries about the social determinants of health — poverty, violence, lack of education — and thinks Trump is someone who won’t understand “that there are broader things going on that impact health. That in itself is going to have a negative impact on any sort of positive policies that would help my patients,” she said.

“I worry what a Donald Trump presidency would look like for myself as someone who is muslim and has lived here all of her life. … I worry what that looks like for my parents who immigrated here, and my friends and I worry about what that looks like for minorities.”

But she was clear about her purpose. “I’m here more than just as, like, a Muslim or just as a black person or as a woman. I’m here because I grew up believing in what I was taught about America, and about the values that we have as a country about equality, about justice, and I think that we seem to be getting further and further away from where we started in 1776, and that’s sad and that’s terrifying.”

“I just hope that people, you know, who are claiming to want to ‘make America great again’,” she said, steadying her voice, “will just take a moment and really look at what the founding fathers were talking about. I mean they weren’t perfect, but what they aspired or what they dreamed was far bigger and far better.”

Fadlalla’s sister Sara came with her to the protest. Sara Fadlalla is a post-baccalaureate student at Cleveland State University. She is applying to dental schools.

“She’s younger, I think, more energetic and very hopeful,” said Fatima Fadlalla of her sister. “I think having somebody that you’re used to taking care of, part of you wants to reassure them that things will be okay and that the future is better than the days before. And so that’s kind of what we’re holding to. … ” she said, her brown eyes starting to glisten. She apologized as she wiped at the corners of her eyes with her headscarf.

“I just hope that that’s actually the truth.”

RNC: Cruz Disses Trump, Ryan Hedges

CLEVELAND — Ted Cruz enraged an arena full of Trump fans by failing to endorse the confirmed billionaire nominee, instead seeming to take the opportunity to relaunch his own brand.

And GOP nominee Donald Trump returned the favor by disrupting Cruz’s speech by entering the back of the hall giving his blessing to the jeering crowd.

Cruz started his prime time remarks with a conciliatory note by formally congratulating Trump on his nomination. He then paid homage to a slain Dallas police officer, criticized the “corrupt” Democratic establishment, slammed Obamacare, and then — at the point where most convention speakers would endorse the nominee — he went in a different direction.

“And to those listening, please don’t stay home in November. If you love your country and love your children as much as I know that you do, stand and speak and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket, who you trust to defend our party.”

The audience responded by booing Cruz off stage.

The jumbo screens above fizzed and crackled and eventually sputtered out for a period, but not before playing another family-focused video. Donald Trump’s son, Eric, spoke next, but it was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who managed to restore order at least temporarily.

“I think you misunderstood one paragraph that Ted Cruz, who’s a superb orator, said,” Gingrich told the crowd.

“In this election there is only one candidate who will uphold the constitution,” he said, and that is Trump-Pence.

Later in the night, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) introduced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as a”Reagan conservative.”

“He’s a man of faith, a man of conviction, a man you can trust,” he said.

And while Ryan reserved his praises for the vice presidential nominee, he spoke of sending “him and Donald Trump straight to the White House.”

Pence, billed as the headline attraction for the evening, then introduced himself.

“I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”

Pence introduced his mother in the audience, who blew him a kiss, and then the rest of his family.

Trump tapped Pence, a social conservative and born-again evangelical Christian, as his running mate last week.

He negotiated a compromise to expand Medicaid in Indiana, an action which even some liberal policy experts say they were gratified to see, but as recently as this past Saturday has promised to repeal Obamacare. In his remarks Wednesday, he took a poke at Hillary Clinton’s role in health reform during her husband Bill’s administration, saying, “She planted the seeds of the disaster we now know as Obamacare.”

The core of Thursday’s speeches centered around law and order and defeating terrorism, but the speakers spent considerable time bashing Clinton, the former Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic nominee.

And Pence fell in line with that theme calling her “America’s secretary of the status quo”

“It’s change versus the status quo … and when Donald Trump is elected president of the United States of America the change will be huuuuuge,” he said, playing to the audience. While the crowd interrupted Pence several times with chants of “Trump” and “USA” he waited them out.

During the day, there were a number of protests in the public square outside the Quicken Loans Arena, site of the convention — including a flag-burning protest that involved 17 arrests. Leah Wolfe, who was working as a volunteer”street medic” treating injured protesters, said she had mostly been taking care of minor injuries such as blisters, sunburns, and dehydration.

The street medics haven’t had much contact with regular emergency medical services (EMS) staff as of yet, she noted. “We’re trained to identify real emergencies, so if a real emergency happens behind police lines, EMS is not allowed to go back there because they have to wait for police to clear the scene, whereas a lot of street medics are willing to be back there so they can help people, and get them out to the ambulance if it’s necessary.

“We’re a collective effort of volunteers from all over the country,” added Wolfe, who was interviewed prior to the flag-burning protest. “For me it’s practice in disaster preparedness … [although] so far it seems like it’s been pretty calm.”

When GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump takes the stage tomorrow night, physicians, nurses, and other health professionals will be joining the ranks of protesters outside the arena.

Protesters will convene Thursday afternoon for a march and later that evening for a rally in Public Square.

RNC Day One: A Dust-up, But No Derailments

CLEVELAND — The Republican National Convention here kicked off calmly Monday, but then descended into chaos, if only temporarily.

Business began as usual with the Pledge of Allegiance and the other standard opening procedures. Delegates even danced to the music, some wearing cowboy hats as many two-stepped in the aisles to the tune of “Happy Together,” “Come Join the Party,” and “How Sweet it is to be Loved by You.”

Despite that amicable beginning, things got rowdy inside the Quicken Loans Arena when the chair of the Republican National Committee’s rules committee moved that the convention rules be adopted.

A voice vote was taken but because both sides were shouting very loudly it was unclear whether the Aye or Nay votes had prevailed. A lot of chanting followed, including voices saying “USA!” and others yelling “We want Trump!”

The convention chair then asked for another voice vote. He declared that the rules committee report had been adopted. A delegate from Utah requested a voice vote but his request was denied, with the chair saying there was not enough support for one. The convention business resumed shortly thereafter, although shouts of “Roll call vote!” erupted periodically.

That dissension was emblematic of disagreements about Donald Trump, the party’s presumed nominee, that were going on behind the scenes, even though Paul Manafort, Trump’s acting campaign manager, had presented unity as one of the convention’s core themes during a press briefing Monday morning.

As one example of some prominent party members’ dissatisfaction with Trump, John Kasich, Ohio’s own Republican governor, will not be speaking at the convention and has thus far failed to endorse the candidate.

“He’s embarrassing his party,” Manafort said of Kasich at a media breakfast.

The theme for the opening day was “Make America Safe Again,” with a focus on national security, but a few speakers did make comments about healthcare issues.

Rep. Greg Walden (R- Ore.) slammed the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “Under this flawed law, healthcare has become anything but affordable,” he said. “Insurance premiums and healthcare costs, they’ve skyrocketed. Another round of double-digit rate hikes are set to hit consumers this November. Obamacare is what happens when a president cares more about securing a political win than setting good policy for our country.”

Walden drew comparisons between Obamacare and the “patient-centered” replacement plan touted by House Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). “We’re offering a real alternative and showing voters that Republicans are the party of new and good ideas, while Democrats are clearly the party of the failed status quo, especially on healthcare … Donald Trump will be our partner in this effort and together we will replace Obamacare with healthcare that works for all Americans.”

The orthopedic surgeon who chairs the party’s platform committee,Sen. John Barrasso, MD, (R-Wyo.), also criticized the ACA.”The president … dismantled the American system of healthcare and replaced it with a costly, complicated scheme that takes away our freedom,” he said.

Outside the “Q” second tier activities included a forum on the future of health information technology, sponsored by the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Martin Harris, MD, chief information officer at the Cleveland Clinic, discussed his facility’s use of a patient portal that gives patients most test results at the same time as their physicians receive them.

“It creates a continuous relationship with physician that’s sustainable over time,” he said of the portal, which patients can access on their smartphones. “Now patients have access to exact same information that their provider has.” Certain test results, such as pathology results for suspected cancers, are delayed before being posted in the patient portal until the physician has time to discuss them with the patient, he added.

Warren Selman, MD, neurosurgeon-in-chief at University Hospitals of Cleveland, discussed the benefits of using a 3-D virtual reality system to analyze neurosurgery patients. One advantage is that it makes consultation with far-away colleagues easier.

“It’s not enough for me to make a decision by myself [in some cases] … Wouldn’t it be great to get a couple of colleagues on the same surgical theater and say, ‘Would you take a look at this? Take a look in 3D and tell me what you think,” he said. “Virtual reality has a very strong place in improving healthcare.”

In addition, Selman said, being able to see, for example, what their own brain aneurysm looks like and how the neurosurgeon is planning to approach the surgery “gives patients a greater sense of trust.”

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.