The State of Healthcare
January 28, 2014
January 28, 2014
Tonight, President Obama will deliver his annual State of the Union address. High on the agenda for the evening: income inequality and immigration reform. But what will the president say about the rollout of the Affordable Care Act?
Here’s what some news outlets are predicting.
NPR: “In past SOTU speeches, the president hasn't mentioned the ‘Affordable Care Act’ by name. But with the worst of the fiasco of the federal Healthcare.gov website rollout behind him and the need to sign up as many young ‘invincibles’ as possible for the economics underlying the law to work, Obama can be expected to make a pitch to those who haven't signed up for coverage — do it soon.”
Politico: “Obama may actually dwell a little longer on Obamacare this year than he has in the past. The speech is coming at the right time for the White House. HealthCare.gov is largely fixed for consumers. The administration sacked CGI, the contractor that botched the website. Three million Americans have selected private health insurance plans, with millions more expected by the March 31 deadline … The goal this year is simple: Tout the successes, acknowledge the work that still needs to be done, and energize the base without losing credibility with the rest of the country.”
Washington Post: “When President Obama brings up health care during his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, he will make one issue clear (yet) again: He will defend the Affordable Care Act against any and all political attacks this year. Unlike some other initiatives such as immigration, Obama will not ask Congress for anything, focusing instead on the law's ongoing implementation as the top priority. While the Oct. 1 botched rollout of Healthcare.gov represented a significant blow to both the White House and Democrats more broadly (especially those on the ballot this November), the high-profile speech gives Obama the chance to tout the law's benefits and shore up the political fortunes of the men and women who backed it.”
The consensus seems to be that the president will address the ACA in more detail than he has in past years. He’ll focus on the successes, stressing that three million Americans have already signed up for health insurance through the exchanges, and he’ll urge others – particular young adults – to continue signing up before the March 31 deadline for 2014 coverage.
As for whether he’ll address the negative press he’s gotten around the botched roll-out of the Healthcare.gov website, we expect he will acknowledge the site’s problems but insist that that passing and implementing the ACA is well worth the political consequences and negative attention.
We’ll be tuned in tonight to hear what the president has to say. What do you hope the president addresses during tonight’s speech?