President Obama in his State of the Union address last night called for a spirit of bipartisanship to address key issues facing the country. That call seemed to land on deaf ears, at least when it comes to health reform.
Obama drew the first, and not unexpected, battle line during the speech when he pledged to veto legislation that would put “families at risk by taking away their health insurance.”
In the Republican response, newly elected Iowa Senator Joni Ernst said that Congress, now controlled by the GOP, will continue to fight to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. Earlier in the day, Sen. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, acknowledging that repeal is not likely to occur with Obama in the White House, said, “we’re going to continue to strike away at it, piece by piece if we have to.”
So, here we go again.
Interestingly, the president’s speech was fairly light on health care issues. He noted that during the past year, “10 million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage.” Aside from that, there wasn’t much chest pumping about gains made under the ACA.
Also surprising, my email box did not blow up with press statements from various interest groups. As I watched and tweeted about the speech, I expected a flood of releases offering expert commentary. There was barely a trickle.
The president did make vague reference to a new “Precision Medicine Initiative,” which appears to be aimed at greater development of personalized medicine. This 2013 University of California San Francisco video offers some insights into the concept of precision medicine.
Obama also praised health care workers in their battle against Ebola at home and in Africa.
What did you think of the SOTU? And, what are your thoughts about 2015 and the political health care agenda? Comment below.