Window to Washington

An inside-the-beltway look at the legislative and regulatory process.

Will health reform make it into the State of the Union?

By Rich Daly
12:01 am, Jan. 20

An important question for many supporters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is whether President Barack Obama will mention, and to what extent, the law during Tuesday's State of the Union address.

The measure is widely considered his leading domestic policy achievement, but news reports have noted the president rarely mentions it when speaking to the public. However, Obama regularly highlights its passage when addressing supporters.

For instance, at a Jan. 11 campaign concert at the UIC Forum in Chicago Obama hailed the law's passage “after a century of talking about it.” The law, he said “ensures that in the United States of America nobody goes bankrupt because they get sick. And 2.5 million young people already have health insurance because they can stay on their parents' plan. And nobody is denied coverage or dropped by their insurance company when they need it most.”

But will he echo those sentiments to a national audience?

Elizabeth Fowler, a special assistant to the president for healthcare and economic policy at the National Economic Council, acknowledged at a Jan. 17 event for a publication promoting the law that much of the work responding to critics and promoting the law has fallen to a “fleet of HHS officials that go out and do public speaking regularly.”

“But in terms of selling the bill obviously we can always do more,” she said. “We will see the president speak more about healthcare and healthcare reform in the Affordable Care Act as the election season heats up.”

Follow Rich Daly on Twitter @MHRDaly.

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