President Bush last night used his seventh and last State of the Union address, in part, to urge Congress to revisit key healthcare initiatives that have garnered big headlines yet gained little traction with lawmakers over the course of his tenure.
In a speech that balanced domestic and overseas priorities, Bush called on federal lawmakers to give Americans tax breaks so that they can buy their own health insurance, expand health savings accounts, promote health information technology and create so-called association health plans. The president also called on Congress to confront the epidemic of junk medical lawsuits.
To build a future of quality healthcare, we must trust patients and doctors to make medical decisions and empower them with better information and better options, Bush said. We share a common goal: making healthcare more affordable and accessible for all Americans.
In the 53-minute speech, Bush essentially waived a white flag when it comes to Medicare and Social Security reforms, opting instead to have federal lawmakers try to trim spending. I have laid out proposals to reform these programs, he said. Now I ask members of Congress to offer your proposals and come up with a bipartisan solution to save these vital programs for our children and grandchildren. -- by Matthew DoBias
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