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SOTU Light on Healthcare, Industry Reacts

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, January 25, 2012

As a reporter I am inundated with government information about how the ACA is reducing healthcare costs. None of that made it into the president's speech. What gives?

Off the record, one source suggested that healthcare reform just doesn't resonate with the public. "The bad economy affects almost everyone; the lack of health insurance not so much."

Stakeholders and policy analysts, who are usually chomping at the bit to comment on speeches, rules, regulations, etc., have been more or less silenced by what one group described as the "dearth of references to health reform or healthcare policies" in the speech.

I did collect some comments about what was said or not said about healthcare in the State of the Union address. Here is a sample of perspectives on the speech:

Paul Keckley, Ph.D., executive director Deloitte Center for Health Solutions
"During his State of the Union, the President chose not to connect the dots important to the public debate about health reform. Since the downturn, the healthcare industry added 1 million jobs while the rest of the economy dropped 7 million. Health spending increases over the past 2 years—3.8% and 3.9%—were the lowest in decades."

"The healthcare industry is facing growing demand by being innovative, efficient and responsive to its challenge to provide better value to consumers. With or without the Affordable Care Act, it will continue its transformative journey from patients to consumers, volume-based incentives to value, and fragmentation to connectivity and coordination."

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