Harvard Health Publications

Health care largely ignored in State of the Union address

Posted By Patrick J. Skerrett On January 25, 2012

As I listened to the State of the Union address last night, the health journalist part of my brain was hoping for news about health and health care reform. It was sorely disappointed.

Thanks to word counter Dan Diamond, managing editor for the Advisory Board’s Daily Briefing, I learned that President Obama spent just 44 words on health reform last night. That’s far fewer than he’s used in the past (see illustration below)

That health care reform was neglected shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Once a hot-button issue, health care reform has given way in this election year to jobs and the economy. As Sarah Kliff wrote in the Washington Post’s “Wonkblog,” the President wouldn’t have gained much political ground talking about the Affordable Care Act, since “health reform law doesn’t move voters.”

Although health care reform may not be a hot issue right now, it is still something that affects us all. What would you have wanted President Obama to have said about it in the State of the Union address?

Related Information: Harvard Health Letter

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