Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hillary News & Views 9.3: Substance Abuse, More Endorsements, and a Scientific Fact Check

Today's edition of Hillary News & Views begins with coverage of Clinton's latest substantive policy announcement.

Writing for the New Hampshire Union Leader, Clinton penned an op-ed outlining her policies to address the epidemic of substance abuse:
Today I’m releasing a strategy to confront the drug and alcohol addiction crisis. My plan sets five goals: empower communities to prevent drug use among teenagers; ensure every person suffering from addiction can obtain comprehensive treatment; ensure that all first responders carry naloxone, which can stop overdoses from becoming fatal; require health care providers to receive training in recognizing substance use disorders and to consult a prescription drug monitoring program before prescribing controlled substances; and prioritize treatment over prison for low-level and nonviolent drug offenders, so we can end the era of mass incarceration.
Achieving these goals won’t be easy. It will take commitment from all corners — law enforcement, doctors, insurance companies and government at every level. That’s why my plan starts by partnering with states and communities across America to meet these goals and substantially expand access to treatment. We’ll ask states to design ambitious plans using the programs that make most sense for their communities’ needs.
In return for strong proposals to address the substance abuse crisis, the federal government will draw on a new $7.5 billion fund to help states meet their goals. My plan would also increase access to treatment by boosting funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant by 25 percent, so communities have more resources to work with immediately. I will ensure that existing federal insurance parity laws are enforced. I will direct the government to reevaluate Medicare and Medicaid payment practices, to remove obstacles to reimbursement and help integrate care for addiction into standard practice.
And for those who commit low-level, nonviolent drug offenses, I will reorient our federal criminal justice resources away from more incarceration and toward treatment and rehabilitation. Many states are already charting this course — I will challenge the rest to do the same.

Time notes that the issue surfaced during Clinton's listening tour back in April:
Clinton was doing the second roundtable of her then-new campaign on April 20 when she heard from Pam Livengood, an employee at a local furniture factory. Livengood noted that her grandson’s mother had run into trouble with drugs.
“We need to see more for substance abuse help in our area,” she said. “There’s very limited resources here. We’d like to see something in that respect. Do you have any further ideas?”
Clinton responded that she was “really concerned” about the issue, a standard line from a candidate on the stump. But her campaign then developed a plan to fight drug addiction, announced Wednesday on on Instagram, Facebook, in a New Hampshire op-ed and a white paper, which the Clinton campaign says was largely spurred by questions from voters.
The Wall Street Journal reports on the financial scale of Clinton's plan:
Hillary Clinton is proposing $10 billion in new federal grants to combat drug and alcohol addiction, the latest in a string of domestic policy proposals from the Democratic presidential contender.
Mrs. Clinton says she would pay for the program by directing that the attorney general issue guidance to prioritize treatment over incarceration for nonviolent, low-level federal drug offenders. The savings would contribute to paying for the new grant programs, but may not be sufficient, the campaign said. The campaign did not identify any other possible ways to pay for the new spending.
The biggest part of her plan would spend $7.5 billion over 10 years on a new federal matching grant program. Money would be available to states that create programs to address five goals: better educating teenagers about drug use and addiction; making more in-patient and out-patient treatment available; ensuring first responders have access to naloxone, a drug used to reverse the impact of opiate overdoses; requiring more training and use of drug-monitoring programs for people who prescribe drugs; and prioritizing rehabilitation and treatment over prison for low-level and nonviolent drug offenders.
States would get $4 in federal money for every $1 in state funds if they develop plans to address these goals.
She is also proposing a 15% increase in funding for the existing Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program—an additional $2.5 billion over 10 years—to expand treatment options.
She said she would also change existing federal regulations that prevent nurse practitioners and physician assistants from prescribing medications to treat opioid addiction, and said she would review Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Administration policies to be sure they are helping to encourage the best treatment practices.
The campaign is humanizing the issue by focusing on individual testimonies of those impacted by addiction.
On Twitter, Clinton's op-ed received a positive retweet from Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse:
And campaign policy director Maya Harris managed to cut Senator Rand Paul down to size in less than 140 characters:
Harris also co-hosted a Facebook Q&A on the topic, and the entirety of Clinton's plan can be read here.
Clinton picked up an endorsement from New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, which was published in the Spanish language El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico's largest newspaper. CNN reports:
Ahead of her first trip to Puerto Rico on Friday, Hillary Clinton won the support of one of the most prominent Puerto Rican politicians in the United States...
"For Puerto Ricans — both on the island and throughout the diaspora — this election is the most important in our lifetime," Mark-Viverito wrote, according to a translation. "Hillary's plan has shown she is not just a friend to the island; she will stand up for it."...
As noted by Mark-Viverito, Clinton has already come out in support of allowing the island territory to declare bankruptcy and restructure its debt. The country defaulted for the first time in history in August, paying a mere $628,000 toward a $58 million debt bill.
Writing for the Huffington Post, Andrea Dew Steele, founder of Emerge America, enthusiastically endorsed Clinton, noting her commitment to women's rights:
In terms of family planning and reproductive rights, Hillary has unwaveringly supported a woman's right to choose and has fought for access to family planning resources that would empower women to make their own decisions about their bodies. Her historic refrain that abortions should be "safe, legal and rare" should be the mantra for all leaders who want to make sure birth control is easily accessible for all women. She has publicly condemned the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling limiting birth control access for employees and strongly supports Planned Parenthood's work. Hillary has spoken in no uncertain terms in defense of Roe v. Wade, and sponsored legislation to reduce the number of abortions through access to birth control and sex education.
Globally, no candidate has done more for women's rights than Secretary Clinton. In her time as Secretary of State, she appointed the first-ever Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues at the State Department; oversaw the creation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security; and introduced the Global Health Initiative (GHI), investing $63 billion to help partner countries provide robust maternal and infant health services. Secretary Clinton has worked tirelessly to elevate women's rights as the key towards economic prosperity and global stability. Her public and private initiatives have appropriated millions of dollars towards providing secondary education to young girls around the world, and tackling the obstacles that face at-risk youths.
The best predictor of future performance is past performance, and when it comes to women's issues, the record is clear. Hillary Clinton is the best candidate for women -- not simply because she is one -- but because she holds the strongest and most consistent record of effectively championing women's rights, economically, socially and politically. Breaking the ultimate glass ceiling does not constitute a political strategy, but electing a strong woman with a concrete track record of protecting and defending women's rights certainly does.
The latest e-mail dump caught the attention of Tech Insider, which noted an exchange showing Clinton's mastery of both policy and the science behind it:
Clinton shows she's attuned to the latest research, catching an apparent mistake that was missed by — in Rooney's words — "the experts."
The exchange begins when Rooney sends Clinton an updated draft of a speech, which the Secretary would deliver later the next day at the national conference for CARE, an organization that fights global poverty. The speech "focuses on a chronically overlooked issue (nutrition)," Rooney writes, adding: "This is a speech that only you could give and a number of constituencies will be delighted by it."
In her reply, Clinton appears happy with the speech: "It is so much better—thank you," she writes. But then Clinton raises a number of questions. Most interesting, she catches what appears to be an error: "Is the Vitamin A research on p. 8 accurate given recent research that raised doubts about it [sic] efficacy?"
Hours later — and only minutes before Clinton was scheduled to speak — came a reply: "You were right about Vitamin A, no surprise (although a bit surprising that none of the experts noticed it)," Rooney writes. "I've changed it to oral rehydration therapy."
And in closing, a few more highlights from Twitter. Clinton's reaction to the Iran deal becoming veto-proof:
And continued coverage of her Beijing speech from 1995, this time showing highlights from the actual speech. Still powerful and relevant today:
For more on Hillary Clinton's campaign for the presidency, check out…  

The Hillary 2016 Platform Series  

Part 1: Criminal Justice Reform  
Part 2: Immigration Reform  
Part 3: Voting Rights  

Unfiltered Hillary: The Transcripts

August 14, 2015: Iowa Wing Ding Dinner
July 31, 2015: National Urban League
July 20, 2015: Facebook Q&A
July 17, 2015: Iowa State Democratic Party Hall of Fame Dinner
April 23, 2015: Women in the World Summit

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