SOTU barely covers healthcare reform law: Social media reactions

By Kelly Mehler
10:02 AM

After this week's State of the Union address, the Politico website dug into why President Obama barely mentioned healthcare reform law. Obama's law has garnered only 42 percent support by Americans, but has been among the most significant policy accomplishments for Obama since he took office.

"I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage or charge women differently from men," Obama said in the address Tuesday night. He continued by quoting Abraham Lincoln: "Government should do for the people only what they cannot do better themselves, and no more... That's why our healthcare law relies on a reformed private market, not a government program."

That's as far as the President went in mentioning healthcare in his speech. Did he avoid the issue? Many believed the speech would be the first stepping-stone in Obama's election campaign – so why not emphasize his accomplishments?

@BeckyG commented on the Politico article, saying that he had already overviewed the healthcare reform law in previous state of the union addresses. "He said pretty much all that should have been said about it at this point. I think we all get the idea," she said.

Another commenter brought up the point that Ezekiel Emanuel was hired last September to make changes to the Affordable Care Act, one being to abort on the Community Assisted Living Services and Supports program (CLASS). "Ezekiel Emanuel differs considerably from the President and his brother [Rahm]. He strongly believes in 'vouchers' for government provided healthcare."

That could be why the President wanted to avoid speaking of the topic at length. It's no secret that the percentage of American adults without health coverage has increased to an all-time high, over 17 percent.

Twitter users have also been trying to understand the absence of healthcare talks. @TreviTroy named three 'oddities' from the State of the Union. "A flawed premise, bizarre healthcare claims and no recognition of our huge debt."

The bizarre statement that @TreviTroy is speaking of is that Obama pronounced that he would not go back to the days when health insurance companies deny people coverage. The federally-run health program he is speaking of is Medicare, which denies a higher percentage of claims than six of the largest seven health insurance companies. A patient cannot sue when Medicare denies someone coverage. All sales are final. So besides that program, what was Obama talking about?

@PICOCAhealth wished Obama had spoken more of the ACA impact. "That will be the job of the healthcare community now," she tweeted.

"I feel like that was a bunch of campaign fluff," tweeted @RachelDavid2, in relation to the few words the President contributed to health reform. "He didn't really address healthcare. He avoided some of the more difficult subjects."

On the Politico Facebook page, many voiced opinions. "Could it be that there are other things to talk about?" asked C-Note Jason.

"I believe the Obama Administration took a lot of heat for focusing so much attention on healthcare reform instead of the economy, that he decided to skirt past this accomplishment," commented Niki McFarlin. "Many In the GOP believe healthcare is not a right and facets of the proposals are contentious. For these reasons, the President's speech writers omitted the subject of healthcare in the speech."

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