Health Care and the State of the Union: Obama Eager to Improve Law, Not Kill It

Health Care and the State of the Union: Obama Eager to Improve Law, Not Kill It In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama didn't shy away from tackling the ongoing questions about the health care reform law head on. And though he started with a bit of humor -- "Now, I have heard rumors that a few of you still have concerns about our new health care law" -- he quickly made one thing quite clear to anyone who might think he's taking the matter lightly:

"What I'm not willing to do," said Obama, "what I'm not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition."

However, Obama did agree that the health insurance reform law, which will extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans and "finally prevents the health insurance industry from exploiting patients," can be improved. He added that he's "eager" to work on any ideas brought forward to do that. But he emphasized his determination not to scrap the law: "So I say to this chamber tonight, instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let's fix what needs fixing and let's move forward."

GOP Stands Firm on Repeal

Of course, the Republican reply to the State of the Union had a different take on what needed to be fixed. "The president mentioned the need for regulatory reform to ease the burden on American businesses," said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) in the GOP's official response address. "We agree -- and we think his health care law would be a great place to start."

"Health care spending is driving the explosive growth of our debt. And the president's law is accelerating our country toward bankruptcy," he said. Republicans "we will work to replace [the bill] with fiscally responsible, patient-centered reforms that actually reduce costs and expand coverage."

The Affordable Care Act came under renewed legislative attack from Republicans almost as soon as the new Congress was seated, and the House of Representatives voted to repeal it -- a symbolic gesture, given that the repeal measure won't be taken up in the Senate, and would never be signed by Obama.

It's unclear how well either party's plans for health care will sit with the public. Half of Americans now say they oppose the health care law, according to a recent Kaiser/Harvard poll. But the same poll showed a majority of Americans, including many Republicans, also disapprove of de-funding or otherwise slowing down implementation of parts of the bill. They, too, appear to prefer to move forward.

Looking for Savings in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid


When it comes to the budget deficit and spending cuts, Obama's speech was light on details. He proposed a five-year freeze in annual domestic spending, outside of national security, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. But he also mentioned he will fund biomedical research, information technology and clean energy. Confusing?

Further, Obama acknowledged the freeze alone would not be enough, and suggested that the nation would need to cut defense and health care spending, too, and reduce tax breaks and loopholes. "This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit," Obama said. As for Social Security, the President is looking for "a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations."

While Ryan also offered few details about his fiscal proposals, his Republican Roadmap for America's Future calls for large cut in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But the Kaiser/Harvard poll makes it clear that this is one thing the American public agrees on: They oppose large spending cuts to exactly these three programs.

With the Congressional Budget Office projecting a federal budget deficit of close to $1.5 trillion, or 9.8% of GDP in 2011, political leaders will have to tackle this problem head on. If they are to succeed, Democrats and Republicans will have to present a common front -- if one can be found -- before they demand large concessions from the American public.

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Gordon

THE STATE OF OUR UNION is dire, we are clearly in real trouble and on the verge of total collapse. Our finances are in the gutter, to the tune of trillions of dollars in debt with no way out, our elected officials want to spend more, borrow more and don't care about us or this Great Country or they would stop all this insanity. The definition of insanity; Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. 545 elected officials telling 300 million what to do ,what is good for us all the while running our Great Country into debtors prison, we're already in that prison is some respects. These same people responsible for the mess run for re-election disavowing all responsibility for their mess, come up with more insane ways to fix it then they never even look at the isues again until next election. Stop this insanity.

March 08 2011 at 7:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
okitori

To americadoo:

We are not ants & as in the ant colony the elites are predicated on the worker ants that do all the work for the queen ant and her entourage. I do not want the elites to suffer through with caviar, lobster, filets, etc. that we are paying for while the common ant is standing in breadlines or supermarkets to try and feed the family. I do not want to follow Obama's idealogy. He tells us to turn down our thermostat to 67--but he needs to set the heat at the WH at 81. He tells us to use public transportation yet he flies from state to state on his campaign trail. Wouldn't you love to have the WH give us all an inkling of what Michelle, her mother & kids order for their menu for a week? We are payimg for it and it should be made public. Did anyone get a gander of what they served at the State House dinner? I guess it is do as I say, not as I do.

January 27 2011 at 2:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
okitori

Please tell me why Obama didn't read the bill he signed into law and NOW he says he is willing to fix it??? What is that? Why weren't these problems fixed before being signed into law? Obamacare needs to be revised (even Obama agrees) but why did he sign a bill that has so many flaws that now he even agrees he could use revamping. It's just a good thing we had people smarter than we are that objected to his health care plan. I certainly do not want 16,500 new IRS folks hired to determine my health care benefits. Do we actually need another government bureauacy controling our medical needs????

January 27 2011 at 2:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
bkeiner

Cutting Social Security is stealing from the senior citizens as I work 40 years and had money taken from my checks. The government used the money to fund the generations before me. This is not an entitlement, IT'S MY MONEY AND I WANT IT BACK.
If we didn't give welfare to illegal aliens how long would medicare and medicaid last? That's where we start cutting.

January 26 2011 at 8:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
americandoo

"THINKING OUT OF THE BOX FOR AMERICA"

What this statement means to me is; to think of ways to help Everyone In America with New Positive Ideas that Will help to fix our problems, Focus On The Ball ! !
( focus on the problems at hand and come up with potential New Ideas that will help to solve Our Problems)

"LEAD BY EXAMPLE" means to; come up with Ideas to Help Americans Lead The World By Example.

"UNITED WE STAND" "DIVIDED WE FALL" (these are not just words these are facts)

What this statement means to me is; To Work Together as a Nation using Ameri-Can Do Attitudes To Stand Together, To Solve Problems In A United Way, As Americans, As;

"WE THE PEOPLE" (not divided parties, not divided people that make it difficult and almost impossible to solve even the simplest problems)

Look to nature for proof of the above statement;

Look at what Ants accomplish together as a colony as a Team Working Together, look at their unbelievable STRENGTHS & ACCOMPLISHMENTS ! !

Then; Look at the one ant that you see once in a while by himself running around in circles, confused, lost and accomplishing nothing, this is what happens when we divide.

Time to; TEAM UP AMERICA ! ! & LEAD BY EXAMPLE ! !

(Always trying to help as a Proud American in a Positive Way ! !)

Thank You, Respectfully, Michael V. Caldwell

January 26 2011 at 5:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
scottee

could this be an alternative to Obamacare???? Physicians for a National Health Program? pnhp.org HR676

January 26 2011 at 5:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TexicanPastor1

I DID notice a second attempt at professing a largely 'transparent' form of the government, I mostly hope that means a total replacement of NON-transparent dealings occuring behind the closed doors of the men's room !

January 26 2011 at 4:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply