Obama, Largely Silent on Healthcare in State of the Union Speech, Takes Shot at Medical Device Failures

Posted 25 January 2012 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC 

Last night's State of the Union (SOTU) Speech devoted just 44 words of a 6,957-word speech to healthcare-a striking departure from prior speeches that highlighted the Obama administration's actions on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). However, regulations-including medical device regulation-received some attention in the President's speech.

In the middle of his SOTU speech, Obama turned to critics of his administration's regulatory policies, and sought to defend them. "There is no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly," said Obama.

"In fact, I've approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his. I've ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don't make sense. We've already announced over 500 reforms, and just a fraction of them will save business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years."

However, certain regulations are necessary to ensure the safety of the financial system and the public, noted Obama. Among those regulations: "Rules to prevent […] faulty medical devices."

Obama said that these types of regulations "don't destroy the free market [but] make the free market work better."

An analysis of the speech by Dan Diamond of The Advisory Board Company found that the 2012 SOTU speech contained just 44 words devoted to healthcare. That number was down substantially from 2011, when 224 words were devoted to healthcare, and 2010 when 570 words were devoted to it.

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