Obama minimizes the importance of health care reform in his speech while asking Congress to make it a priority

Posted: Jan 28, 2010 6:02 AM

Last night, in the post-speech discussion of the State of the Union address, many pundits spoke about how health care was less of a priority to President Obama in his speech than it has been for him in the past year. However, even with less of an emphasis on health care than he has given the subject before, Obama was still direct about asking Congress to focus on it in the upcoming weeks as he himself moves on to other topics.

After focusing on jobs and the economy for approximately the first third of his address, Obama changed the subject to health care reform, something that he has been pushing for throughout the past year. In his speech, President Obama said the following: 

Here's what I ask Congress, though: Don't walk away from reform, not now, not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people. Let's get it done. 
Yet, if you look at the relegation of health care in his speech, it seems that President Obama has seemingly stepped away from the subject. I am glad that the president is now focused on jobs, a focus he should have had in 2009. However, he seems to have changed his focus to jobs while he is still asking Congress to focus on health care reform policies that the American people do not support, according to numerous polls.

If President Obama supports health care reform, he should look at the polls and recent election results (i.e. in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia) and see that the American people are rejecting the type of reform he and other members of his party are advocating. If he wants real health care reform, Obama should be listening to the voters instead of ignoring them and he should not be pushing Congress to stand by health care reform when it seems he wants to change the subject to something else.