Monday, August 29, 2016

Hillary News & Views 8.29: MLK March, EpiPens, Kutcher, Star Surrogates, Mental Health

Hillary in Reno on Thursday, Aug 25

Guest post by swiffy

Today we begin with Hillary’s statement Saturday about the impact of Martin Luther King’s march on Washington, DC 53 years ago.
In 2016, we’ve come a long way since the days of Jim Crow.  Yet too many Americans still face systemic racism and constant assaults on their franchise.  Something is profoundly wrong when decades after Dr. King addressed the nation, so many Americans still feel that their country values them less, simply because of the color of their skin.
That’s just one reason why the stakes in this election are unlike any we have faced before.  Those brave men and women who marched, and sat, and bled for civil rights in America must not have done so in vain.
As President, I’ll stand up to bluster and bigotry, and fight back against efforts to restrict access to the ballot.  Let’s make it easier for people to vote, not harder.  Let’s make sure every state has at least 20 days of in-person voting, and no one ever has to wait more than 30 minutes to cast their ballot.  And let’s automatically register every American to vote on their 18th birthday.
The campaign this weekend highlighted Hillary’s policies to reign in escalating prescription drug costs after the huge escalation in EpiPen prices made news.
Now that Hillary and others called them out, Mylan has announced that it will offer “coupons” and “discounts” to some customers—on medication they hiked up in the first place. However, discounts for selected customers without lowering the overall price of EpiPens are insufficient, because the excessive price will likely be passed on through higher insurance premiums. 
Hillary will call out and take on drug company price-gouging.
It’s wrongand Hillary has a plan to fix it and a track record of speaking out on the matter. She called the price increase in EpiPens “outrageous,” and that with no apparent justification for it, Mylan should lower their price immediately. She’s taken Turing Pharmaceuticals to task for raising drug prices astronomically. And she’s also spoken at length about Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ price-gouging and the heartbreaking toll it takes on families.  
Hillary’s own statement about Mylan was published on Facebook.
Over the last several years, Mylan Pharmaceuticals has increased the price of EpiPens by more than 400%. They're now charging up to $600 for a two-EpiPen set that must be replaced every 12-18 months. This both increases out-of-pocket costs for families and first responders, and contributes to higher premiums for all Americans and their employers.
That's outrageous -- and it's just the latest troubling example of a company taking advantage of its consumers. I believe that our pharmaceutical and biotech industries can be an incredible source of American innovation, giving us revolutionary treatments for debilitating diseases. But it's wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients, raising prices without justifying the value behind them.
That's why I’ve put forward a plan,, to address exorbitant drug price hikes like these. As part of my plan, I’ve made clear that pharmaceutical manufacturers should be required to explain significant price increases, and prove that any additional costs are linked to additional patient benefits and better value. Since there is no apparent justification in this case, I am calling on Mylan to immediately reduce the price of EpiPens.
And this is the plan on the campaign’s site.
Hillary Clinton believes we need to promote competition and leverage our nation’s bargaining power to lower drug costs on behalf of Americans. Hillary Clinton believes that we need to hold drug companies accountable to lower drug costs for Americans. And this isn’t a new fight for her. She fought against special interests for affordable health coverage in the 1990s and as a Senator. In her 2008 campaign, she called for allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies to reduce prices and rein in costs. She’s been committed to this fight throughout her career, and is continuing it today.
That’s why Hillary Clinton is announcing a plan to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable and rein in drug costs for American families. Her plan will demand a stop to excessive profiteering and marketing by denying tax breaks for direct-to-consumer advertising and demanding that drug companies invest in R&D in exchange for taxpayer support – rather than marketing or excessive profits. She will encourage competition to get more generics on the market and create a Federal backstop for when there are excessively high-priced drugs that face no competition. And for Americans struggling with prescription drug cost burdens, she will cap what insurers can charge consumers in out-of-pocket costs, putting money back in the family wallet.
The Iowa Gazette reported that Ashton Kutcher has endorsed Hillary Clinton even though he does not feel he is a Democrat or liberal.
Ashton Kutcher made a stop at Clinton’s Cedar Rapids campaign office on First Avenue NE to offer the endorsement and speak to Clinton supporters.
“I’m not really like a Democrat Democrat, I’m not really like a super liberal, but I’m definitely not a Trumper,” Kutcher said, referencing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
In his speech to supporters, Kutcher, who hails from Cedar Rapids, was outspoken about why he’s supporting Clinton, but more so why he’s not supporting Trump.
He said he doesn’t think Trump is a racist or other things “people try to drive and say that he is.”
“But what I think (Trump) is, is very self-centered,” he said. “In an effort to get himself elected, he’s willing to say whatever he has to and make you promises that ultimately I don’t think he can keep, but what most common sense people think is right.”
Kutcher continued by saying that someone who’s “driving racial divisiveness” and slandering others of different backgrounds “is not a person we can have being our person.”
Clinton was endorsed by the celebrity for her capabilities as a leader, he said.
“I think Hillary stands for all of the things we stand for,” Kutcher said.
Kutcher encouraged those gathered to vote, and to continue campaigning for Clinton as the Nov. 8 general election draws near.
“We need people in positions of power that are serving us, and at the same time we need to serve them,” Kutcher said.
New York magazine has a nice profile of Olympic skater Michelle Kwan, who has become a sort of surrogate outreach coordinator for the campaign.
The new center of this nexus of politics and celebrity in 2016 is Michelle Kwan, who has the unique role of being both celebrity surrogate and Clinton campaign staffer. Kwan’s official role with the campaign is “surrogate outreach coordinator,” which basically means it’s her job to wrangle Clinton’s high-profile backers, including stars like Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, and Meryl Streep, all of whom have made appearances this year on behalf of the candidate.
Kwan is also unique in the way she inspired a generation of American women and girls, and there’s a parallel set of emotions the Clinton campaign has tried to capture as Hillary appears poised to become the nation’s first female president. At least, that’s the sentiment on display among the Clinton supporters at the phone-banking event, where a young woman with curly blonde hair looks up from her call logs and asks Kwan, “When I was in the fifth grade, I watched your long programs on VHS tapes.
Now, Kwan spends most days at Hillary’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn. But when she’s not there, she’s traveling the country for Clinton as a surrogate herself. After the phone-banking event, Kwan heads over to the official launch of Virginia’s Asian American Pacific Islanders for Hillary group at a pan-Asian Thai restaurant called Tara Temple. There, she is fully in star-surrogate mode. Outside the restaurant, she’s stopped by a handful of Virginia Democrats who enlist her to film a short video clip with a local official saying, “We are stronger together!” — one of the Clinton campaign’s slogans.
The Las Vegas Review Journal notes two Democratic groups have opened new offices to help Democrats win this year in Nevada.
With 71 days left until the general election, two groups backing Hillary Clinton opened a coordinated campaign office in North Las Vegas. It’s the 12th Democratic campaign office in what has become an important swing state in the presidential race...
“The Nevada Dems and the Hillary campaign together, are opening offices across the state to make sure we have places, hubs in the communities where people work and live in,” said Miguel Ayala, Nevada Communications Director for Hillary for America. “We want to help bring the communities together, organize and help them get their neighbors out to vote.”
Finally, today Clinton is expected to reveal new details about her mental health plan, asreported by Christian Science Monitor.
The Democratic presidential nominee's agenda would focus on early diagnosis and intervention and create a national initiative for suicide prevention. If elected, Clinton would hold a White House conference on mental health within her first year in office.
Clinton's proposal would also aim to enforce mental health parity laws and provide training to law enforcement officers to deal with people grappling with mental health problems while prioritizing treatment over jail for low-level offenders.
"Building on her longstanding commitment to health care for all, Hillary believes everyone should be able to access quality mental health care — without shame, stigma or barriers," said Maya Harris, a senior policy adviser to Clinton's campaign, in a statement.
The former secretary of state planned to hold a town hall meeting by telephone with stakeholders on Monday during a three-day fundraising spree in the Hamptons. The policy rollout would overlap with a Clinton plan to address drug and alcohol addiction which she campaigned on in Iowa and New Hampshire after hearing frequently about the problems from voters.
Bonus Tweets:
 Have a terrific day, everyone!
(originally posted at Daily Kos)

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