Obama Hits on Health Care in Inauguration; Health Action Expected
During his inaugural address on Tuesday, President Obama discussed health care among a number of issues that his administration and Congress must address, the New York Times reports (Baker, New York Times, 1/21).
During his speech, Obama said that "there is work to be done" on health care reform and a number of other issues (Condon, CongressDaily, 1/20).
Obama said, "Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet."
In addition, he said, "We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost" (Rubenstein, "Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 1/20).
Health Care Agenda
The Obama administration "plans to move fast" on efforts to "overhaul the health care system," the Wall Street Journal reports (Meckler/King, Wall Street Journal, 1/20).
Obama will face the challenges of "raising health care's quality while lowering its costs" and "Medicare's mounting insolvency," according to the Washington Times (Lambro, Washington Times, 1/20).
House Budget Committee Chair John Spratt (D-S.C.) said that Obama likely will not address health care reform in his first budget proposal, which he plans to release in late February (Jansen/Clarke, CQ Today, 1/20).
"In all likelihood, the length of time the president has to deal with problems and deliver on promises will vary with the problem and the promise," and Obama "probably has a good deal of breathing room not only on the economy but also on health care, given the long and tortured history of efforts to change the system," the New York Times reports (Nagourney, New York Times, 1/21).
Obama also likely will seek to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which "is considered a much easier task than a broad overhaul of health care," according to CQ Today (CQ Today, 1/20).
Congressional Democrats hope to pass legislation that would reauthorize and expand SCHIP by the end of next week (Pierce/Dennis, Roll Call, 1/21).
In addition, Obama plans to "use executive orders and the bully pulpit ... to mark a symbolic break from the policies of the past eight years" in a number of areas, such as health care, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
As one of his first actions as president, Obama likely will lift restrictions on federal funds for embryonic stem cell research (Marks, Christian Science Monitor, 1/21). According to CQ Today, "some lawmakers want Congress to act as well" on the issue, "making it harder for future presidents to block such funding" (Jansen/Clarke, CQ Today, 1/20).
Obama also likely will rescind a Bush administration policy directive that limits SCHIP eligibility to the lowest-income children and a rule that expands protections for health care workers who decide not to offer or participate in certain medical procedures, such as abortion, because of moral objections (Pear, New York Times, 1/20).
Broadcast CoverageAs part of the series "A Time for Change: The Obama Agenda," PBS' "Nightly Business Report" examined Obama's proposals for health care on Monday (Bate, "Nightly Business Report," PBS, 1/19). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.