Reform prominent in Obama, GOP addresses

President Obama in his State of the Union speech Tuesday conceded that improvements can be made to health care reform. He specifically cited an ‘’unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses’’ created by the new law. Obama also mentioned being willing to consider medical malpractice reform.

The president, however, was adamant in his overall support of the Affordable Care Act enacted last year, praising the law’s changes on pre-existing medical conditions, prescription drugs for seniors, and extended coverage for children on their parents’ health plan. “Let’s fix what needs fixing and let’s move forward,’’ he told Congress.

But Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), delivering the official Republican response to the president’s address, promised that House Republicans will work to replace the law “with fiscally responsible, patient-centered reforms that actually reduce costs and expand coverage.’’ Health care spending, Ryan said, ‘’is driving the explosive growth of our debt.’’

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) also voiced her opposition to health reform. “In the end, unless we fully repeal Obamacare, a nation that currently enjoys the world’s finest health care might be forced to rely on government-run coverage,’’ she said. Her speech was an unofficial response to the president’s address from the House Tea Party Caucus.

The new Republican-led House has already approved a repeal of the health care law,  but the Democratic-led Senate is unlikely to go along, and Obama would veto the repeal if it reached his desk.

Kaiser Health News offers excerpts from their remarks on health care.