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In State-of-the-State Speeches, Governors Present Healthcare Priorities

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, January 24, 2012

As President Obama puts his final touches the State of the Union speech, governors across the country are wrapping up their own annual assessments. This is State of the State speech season.

Across the country, governors are opening legislative sessions with a look back at their accomplishments and a look forward to their goals for the upcoming year. We've rounded up several and taken a look at how healthcare has fared in these speeches. It's definitely a mixed bag.

There's a lot of worry about Medicaid expenses and negative talk about healthcare reform. But there's also plenty of insight into state priorities such as eliminating pill mills, increasing rural access to healthcare professionals, introducing care coordination to Medicaid and the development of health insurance exchanges.

Here, in alphabetical order, are excerpts from some of the speeches that governors have delivered so far:

Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Arizona)
"Arizonans and Americans are saying to Washington, D.C.: We don't like an ever-expanding government threatening our personal liberties. We don't like government living beyond its means and trying to be everything to everyone. We don't like unconstitutional—and unfunded—healthcare mandates."

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado)
"We are well on our way to establishing a Colorado Health Benefits Exchange. We are doing it Colorado's way and it will be ready at the end of 2013 to support small businesses and provide health insurance for 300,000 Coloradans who presently do not have it.

"We are committed to bending the Medicaid cost curve and pursuing strategies that will cut Medicaid costs. We are tackling fraud, over-payments and eligibility. We want to move away from the expensive fee-for-service system to one that drives toward value and rewards healthier outcomes. We have already started to make progress by focusing on preventive care, reducing obesity rates and improving the technology that links people to services. These efforts will all result in important cost savings."

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