Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union '06 - On Healthcare ...

Keeping America competitive requires affordable health care. Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility. For all Americans, we must confront the rising cost of care, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and help people afford the insurance coverage they need. We will make wider use of electronic records and other health information technology, to help control costs and reduce dangerous medical errors. We will strengthen Health Savings Accounts - by making sure individuals and small business employees can buy insurance with the same advantages that people working for big businesses now get. We will do more to make this coverage portable, so workers can switch jobs without having to worry about losing their health insurance. And because lawsuits are driving many good doctors out of practice - leaving women in nearly 1,500 American counties without a single OB-GYN - I ask the Congress to pass medical liability reform this year.

There is no mention of the consequences of rising pharmaceutical costs. Could we perhaps look more closely at how prescription drug pricing contributes to gaps in accessability to affordable health care? The usual rally for medical liability reform (notice the term "tort" is not used) may sound all good, but lawsuits are not the complete reason why 45 million Americans have no access to health care.