KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In State Of The Union Speech, Health Law Gets Short Shrift

President Barack Obama's State of the Union address was light on health policy references, but he did say he would not "go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your coverage or charge women more than men." News outlets also reported on Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels Republican response and looked forward to what Obama is doing today to spin his speech.

NPR: Analysis: Landmark Health Overhaul Gets Barely A Mention
When it came to health, what was most surprising was how little President Obama had to say in his State of the Union address. His landmark 2010 health overhaul — whose fate is currently before the Supreme Court and whose repeal is the top priority for every GOP presidential candidate — got barely a passing mention (Rovner, 1/24).

Politico: State Of The Union Address Barely Mentions Health Care Reform Law
The health care reform law, which has gotten support from about 42 percent of Americans in recent polls, is Obama's most significant domestic policy accomplishment. But it only got a fleeting mention Tuesday in his third State of the Union speech (Haberkorn, 1/24).

The New York Times: Washington Memo: State Of The Union? More Like State Of The Campaign
Mr. Obama had for years identified long-term deficit reduction as an objective alongside short-time economic recovery, and he included politically unpopular Medicare changes in his health care overhaul. But Democrats still made only minor progress in addressing the long-term deficit. The Republican triumphs in the 2010 midterm elections placed the issue unavoidably at the center of debate (Harwood, 1/24).

The Hill: Obama Largely Avoids Health Care In State Of The Union
President Obama made only glancing references to healthcare reform during his State of the Union address Tuesday night. Although Democrats insist that Obama will be able to campaign on the healthcare law, it was almost entirely absent from a speech that helped establish the themes and frames of his reelection campaign (Baker, 1/24).

The Associated Press: Obama To Republicans: Game On
President Barack Obama delivered an election-year broadside to Republicans: Game on. The GOP, from Congress to the campaign trail, signaled it's ready for the fight... House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., called the differences between the parties "stark" and said he thought little could be accomplished on the federal debt until the two sides come to grips with the skyrocketing costs of health care and the Medicare program (Cassata, 1/25).

Kaiser Health News: Obama On Health Insurance Reform: 'I Won't Go Back' (State Of The Union Excerpts)
Kaiser Health News listened to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address with an ear out for health policy references. He made just one explicit mention of the 2010 health law, and KHN has a transcript of the few parts of his speech that mentioned health care issues (1/24).

The Associated Press: Fact Check: Obama Pushes Plans That Flopped Before
Obama: "Our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a government program." The Facts: That's only half true. About half of the more than 30 million uninsured Americans expected to gain coverage through the health care law will be enrolled in a government program. Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people, will be expanded starting in 2014 to cover childless adults living near the poverty line.

National Journal: Health Care: Jobs Will Be Hard To Create
In an address that barely mentions health care, President Obama hits on the message heard repeatedly from the health care industry: if you want more jobs, don't cut off federal funding. Obama implores Congress not to "gut" investments in research, so American can maintain its spot as a world leader in medical innovation. That line will earn applause from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, but it won't be enough to deliver a health care economy that delivers everyone a "fair shot" (McCarthy, 1/24).

Medscape: State Of The Union Speech Long On Jobs, Short On Healthcare
In his 70-minute speech, Obama mentioned either "healthcare" or "health insurance" only 3 times, compared to 6 references in 2011 and 10 in 2010. Medicare and Medicaid were each mentioned just once (Lowes, 1/24). 

Politico Pro: Daniels's Response: Overhaul Medicare
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels called for overhauling Medicare in his State of the Union response Tuesday night, suggesting that Republicans may try to work Medicare reform into their election pitches this year despite the political risks. Daniels said changes to both Medicare and Social Security should be on "our national must-do list" and that Americans should "unite to save the safety net." He also charged that those who resist changes are "mortal enemies" of the entitlement programs (Nather, 1/24).

Des Moines Register: Iowans Await Obama's Strategy On Jobs In Today's Visit
Iowa business leaders also hope Obama, expected to discuss ways to boost U.S. manufacturing, will target worker training and retraining, advocate expansion of free-trade pacts that enable greater exports, and address concerns about health care laws increasing business costs. Obama touched on several of those topics in his State of the Union address Tuesday night (Eller, 1/25).

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