By Jim Innocenzi, founding partner of Sandler-Innocenzi - 05/19/14 05:08 PM EDT
Sixty-five words. That is all political advertisers get to explain complex and difficult issues to move public opinion. We do this every day.
The challenge for Republicans is that, all too often, Democrats take complex and nuanced positions of Republicans and summarize them as “racist,” “bigoted,” “sexist” or “misogynistic” (“Hillary’s health comes into play May,” May 14). These words make it easy to paint your opponents as extreme in 30-second commercials.
“Yes we can” gave way to “Hope and change” when victory was in sight. When Dems discovered the difficulty of governing, it was “Bush’s fault,” and the greed was from “Wall Street fat cats.” Pollster Hans Kaiser of Moore Information points out voters in 11 out of the 12 targeted states in 2012 still thought the poor economy was ... wait for it ... “Bush’s fault.”
But let’s also not forget “the 99 percent” riots they manufactured as they were selling a healthcare takeover that promised “you can keep you doctor and your plan.” Now, in the second Obama term, anyone who has a different idea from the president of how to move the nation forward is labeled as “racist.” Anyone who wants a balanced approach to climate change is labeled as “anti-science.”
So it is not lost on any Republican that the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party who coined the “vast right-wing conspiracy” phrase picked up on the success of Obamaology to immediately denounce Karl Rove this week as “sexist” for his very legitimate questions of Hillary Clinton’s health.
This dust-up was actually very useful because it was instructive for us to see this year — before Clinton has even made a decision — how Dems will answer any criticism of her. We were reminded this week that words matter.
While I’m sure Rove wishes he had more artfully injected the critical issue of candidate health into the national dialogue, the fundamental point that he was making was absolutely spot-on. The health of individuals who are seeking the most powerful job on earth is an issue that has always been, continues to be and should into the future the subject of national conversation.
I say good for Karl Rove. The dialogue has now started and the Democrats bared their tactical plan in their response.
As we seek the answers to Hillary Clinton’s now infamous question “What difference does it make?” Republicans need to take note that what we find will take a backseat to how we communicate the answers.
Seniors should have
wider pharmacy choice
From B. Douglas Hoey, CEO, National Community Pharmacists Association
Enhancing pharmacy choice and competition for seniors in the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit deserves the support of the presumptive next Health and Human Services secretary, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, despite misleading scare tactics raised by some (“CMS should not make any changes to Medicare Part D,” May 14 letter to the editor to The Hill and “New HHS secretary should promise no post-election changes to Medicare Part D,” May 7, The Hill’s Congress Blog).
Right now seniors (or their caregivers) in rural communities face either trips of 20+ miles to reach a “preferred” pharmacy or higher co-pays to use a local pharmacy. They should have access to discounted, or “preferred,” co-pays at independent community pharmacies willing to accept a drug plan’s reimbursement and other contract terms.
In Florence, Ore., (population: 8,466) Medicare beneficiaries live within one mile of five different pharmacies, on average, but must travel more than 40 miles to reach a “preferred” pharmacy in either the Humana Enhanced or Humana Preferred Rx drug plan. In the Northern Marianas Islands, the closest “preferred” pharmacy for some beneficiaries is nine hours away by plane in Hawaii!
It’s true that Medicare’s proposed regulation issued in January 2014 contained controversial, yet unrelated, provisions. But the pharmacy choice or “any willing pharmacy” policy had bipartisan support from more than 30 members of Congress and leading consumer groups like Medicare Rights Center, National Council on Aging and the National Rural Health Association. The HHS should revisit this issue.
In the nearer term, lawmakers should co-sponsor new, bipartisan legislation. The Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act (H.R. 4577) would give seniors in medically underserved areas access to lower, “preferred” co-pays at community pharmacies.
Plight of boys in Nigeria also deserves attention
From Gordon E. Finley
No one questions that assistance should be given to the Nigerian girls who have been captured in this Muslim religious crusade (“Boko Haram leader offers to swap girls,” May 12).
But what about Nigeria’s boys?
For years now, Nigeria’s boys have been burned alive and shot by the same Muslim group that kidnapped the girls and have done so with the impunity of scant national, international and media attention. This reflects a pattern common in religious or tribal crusades: kill the boys and men or commandeer them to serve on the captures’ side (shoot them if they refuse) and send them out as “point-boys” in battles with the enemy to be used as cannon fodder to be killed before the captures’ own troops.
Some have called this “gendercide.”
Boys, whose lives are equally valuable as those of girls, deserve the same protection, concern, care and media attention as girls.
They are not disposable.