What if Romney had won? What would his State of the Union have looked like? Here’s one take on how he might have addressed three major issues; health care reform, the economy, and Iran.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice President, distinguished guests, and my fellow Americans.
Tonight, even amidst the cold bite of our continuing divisions, there is great hope to be found in America. Tonight, we’re witnessing an economy that’s returning to solid growth. Tonight and together, we’re looking towards a new day in which the specter of debt no longer haunts our children’s future. And tonight, after thirteen years of war in Afghanistan, our military has given us the hope of a hard-won peace.
It’s probably fair to say that very few issues have divided us like the debate over health care.
To some degree, this was always inevitable. Facing an issue as serious and as personal as health care, our disagreements were never going to be quiet. Still, regardless of our political stripes, we owed the American people better than barely veiled fury. We should have realized that just as a splint cannot cure cancer, rigid ideology does not serve the well-being of the American people.
Even then, it’s important that we also recognize another truth. Ultimately, none of us meant ill in this debate. We all want an America that is served by broader access to more effective medicine. My predecessor believed that with a passion, and so do I. But in the end, as much as I greatly respect what my predecessor aimed to achieve with his law, its merits were outweighed by problems.
And so, with Democrats and Republicans at a new table we’re forging a new path. Shortly, we’ll present a different health care plan to the American people. And though it might surprise some, my fellow conservatives not least, this plan will involve proposals from my predecessor. While the details haven’t been finalized, here are some things you should expect.
First, you can be confident that if you wish to do so, you’ll be able to retain the insurance plan you have at the moment. We’ll be expanding health savings accounts that you can shelter from the tax man and put away for your family’s health care needs. We’ll make sure that your health care needs are determined by you and not by a bureaucrat. Second, you can be confident that if you have a pre-existing condition, you’ll soon be able to find coverage.We’ll be creating Federal risk pools that will help carry the weight of a burden for which you are not to blame.
Third, if you’re an employer, you’ll soon have the option to join with other businesses to buy insurance at lower costs and across state boundaries. Fourth, if you’re a medical professional, you should expect an end to endemic, frivolous lawsuits. Fifth, we’re going to do far more to make medical treatment costs more transparent and the health care market more efficient. There’s something very wrong when a hip replacement varies in price by tens of thousands of dollars.
Sixth, we’re going to have to do something difficult. In America at present, those who buy insurance for themselves are left in an unfair tax position when compared to those who receive insurance from their employer. That can’t continue. And so, in order to make sure that a level playing field exists and to ensure that personal responsibility sits at the heart of American health care, employer provided health plans will be subject to an income-tax form assessment. I know that won’t be popular. But the simple truth is that health care reform cannot be easy. It’s too complex. And with health care inflation destroying real income growth for the middle class, doing nothing is not an option. The well-being of Americans and the success of our economy both demand urgent action. And action is coming.