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In anticipation of last night’s State of the Union address, the Center issued a guide entitled “How to Listen to Tonight’s State of the Union Address” that included some suggestions for how to listen to, and translate, key statements related to health care that may be in the speech.  Sometimes policymakers, including presidents, speak in code – they say one thing, but mean something else.

While the bulk of the speech focused on issues unrelated to health care, the President did touch on a few health care issues.  Here is how we responded on our Twitter feed (@CMAorg) during the speech:

  • The President touted the repeal of the core of "Obamacare," the so-called "individual mandate." Translation: Millions more people will be uninsured and premiums will increase for families all over the country. #ProtectOurCare #SOTU
  • Despite removal of the individual mandate and other #ACA sabotage, Americans still signed up in record numbers because we need #AffordableHealthcare. #ProtectOurCare #SOTU
  • President: We are giving "choice" in their #healthcare coverage. Translation: Privatize the VA and other public health care programs. #ProtectOurCare #SOTU
  • "Religious liberty" and "choice in their #healthcare decisions." #SOTU –  which translates to letting providers refuse to provide care (overall health care, abortions), or insisting on providing care (end-of-life), and/or refusing care to groups of people they find offensive. This could lead to a form of legalized discrimination and could harm older and disabled people
  • The President says one of his greatest priorities is to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Says he will instruct his administration to do so this year. So – can we finally expect #Medicare to negotiate drug prices, @SecAzar? #SOTU

While the State of the Union did not focus on health care, we need to be informed, careful listeners as proposals are discussed in the months ahead in order to know what is really meant, and how to respond.

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