On Tuesday, February 12, President Obama delivered his annual State of the Union address to a joint session of the United States Congress. This year’s address touched briefly on health care with references to cost containment reforms.
President Obama credited the Affordable Care Act with slowing the rate of growth of health care costs and stated additional cost containment reforms are needed because “the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population.” He further added that he is “prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.”
President Obama detailed his vision for additional Medicare reforms, which would include more quality-based payment reforms, means-testing of Medicare benefits for seniors, and reform of subsidies to prescription drug companies:
“We’ll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors. We’ll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn’t be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital – they should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive."
The Republican response offered by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) stated that Medicare is on an unsustainable budget path and alluded to premium support models as a viable Medicare reform:
"But anyone who is in favor of leaving Medicare exactly the way it is right now, is in favor of bankrupting it.
Republicans have offered a detailed and credible plan that helps save Medicare without hurting today’s retirees.”
Read President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
Read Senator Rubio’s Response.