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State of the Union: Health Reform

President Obama was about half way through the State of the Union when he finally addressed health reform.  He emphasized the phrase “health insurance reform” a few times — which could indicate a shift away from a complete overhaul of the health care system.

Here is the meat of the president’s comments on reform:

“It is precisely to relieve the burden on middle-class families that we still need health insurance reform.… I took on health care because of the stories I’ve heard from Americans with pre-existing conditions whose lives depend on getting coverage; patients who’ve been denied coverage; and families – even those with insurance – who are just one illness away from financial ruin.… The approach we’ve taken would protect every American from the worst practices of the insurance industry. It would give small businesses and uninsured Americans a chance to choose an affordable health care plan in a competitive market. It would require every insurance plan to cover preventive care.…

And in the Republican response, here are some comments on health reform by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell:

“All Americans agree, we need a health-care system that is affordable, accessible, and high quality.  But most Americans do not want to turn over the best medical-care system in the world to the federal government. Republicans in Congress have offered legislation to reform health care, without shifting Medicaid costs to the states, without cutting Medicare, and without raising your taxes. We will do that by implementing common sense reforms, like letting families and businesses buy health insurance policies across state lines, and ending frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals that drive up the cost of your health care.  And our solutions aren’t thousand-page bills that no one has fully read, after being crafted behind closed doors with special interests.”

it is precisely to relieve the burden on middle-class families that we still need health insurance reform. …
I took on health care because of the stories I’ve heard from Americans with pre-existing conditions whose lives depend on getting coverage; patients who’ve been denied coverage; and families – even those with insurance – who are just one illness away from financial ruin. …
The approach we’ve taken would protect every American from the worst practices of the insurance industry. It would give small businesses and uninsured Americans a chance to choose an affordable health care plan in a competitive market. It would require every insurance plan to cover preventive care. …

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