KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Of The Union Address Includes Brief, But Clear, Defense Of Health Law

President Barack Obama made clear that he is willing to tinker around the edges of the sweeping reform, but not return to the days before the measure became law. Media outlets analyzed the specifics of his comments and offered a big picture view of the impact of the entire speech, including fact-checking some of his related policy ideas and budget recommendations.

Politico: Health Gets Little Time, Big Reaction
President Barack Obama made two things clear about health care in his State of the Union speech: he is willing to change it around the edges and he is ready to put it in the rearview mirror. "Instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let's fix what needs fixing and move forward," Obama said (Nather, 1/26).

The Associated Press: Obama Defends Health Care Bill
President Barack Obama is defending his landmark health care overhaul bill against Republican efforts to repeal it. Obama says he knows there's opposition to the bill extending insurance coverage to 30 million people. But he said he's not willing to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny coverage (1/25).

NPR: On The Issues: Analyzing Obama's Speech
[President Obama] said that while he was willing to discuss changes that would "improve" the [health law] - starting with repeal of a funding provision that would impose new paperwork requirements on small businesses - he remains steadfastly opposed to a full-blown repeal of the sort approved by the House last week. ... But the president did reach out to Republicans on other health issues, particularly deficit reduction. He offered further, unspecified, reductions to the Medicare and Medicaid programs beyond those in the health law. And he said he would also look at "medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits." On the other hand, the White House fact sheet on the speech mentioned support for "state reforms of medical malpractice systems," rather than the federal damage award caps that Republicans want and most Democrats oppose (Rovner, 1/25).

Los Angeles Times: State Of The Union: Obama Says U.S. Acts 'Together, Or Not At All'
Obama's hourlong address Tuesday night sought to repel Republican efforts to roll back his party's signature legislative achievements, including the healthcare overhaul, during the next two years (Parsons and Nicholas, 1/25).

Los Angeles Times: State Of The Union: Republicans Say It's Business As Usual
Republicans dismissed President Obama's State of the Union address as more of the same, saying his call for renewed investment in American education, infrastructure and technology was simply a push for another round of federal spending that shows little commitment to reducing the deficit (Oliphant and Memoli, 1/25).

The Washington Post: Obama Challenges The Nation – And Republicans
Obama tried to project a new spirit of bipartisanship. He salted the speech with ideas that Republicans could easily agree with, such as lowering the corporate tax rate, ending earmarks and taking on medical malpractice reform. But there were also many things with which Republicans will take issue (Balz, 1/25).

Los Angeles Times: Democrats Attack Rep. Paul Ryan's Views On Medicaid, Social Security
Senate Democrats on Tuesday launched a preemptive strike on Rep. Paul Ryan, who will deliver the official Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address (Oliphant, 1/25).

The Washington Post: The Fact Checker: Obama's 2011 State Of The Union Address
Since his time in the Senate, President Obama has favored certain ways of trying to lower costs related to malpractice (1/26).

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