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President Biden’s State of the Union Address – Impact on the Health of Our Patients

In his State of the Union Address, President Biden spoke boldly of “the next chapter in the great American story, a story of progress and resilience.” His defining word for our country was aptly chosen — “Possibilities.”

As we anticipated, most of his points touched on issues that affect healthcare, the social determinants of health, and the vast majority of our patients. Let’s look at what he covered and what changes are possible for 2023 and beyond:

Some wins to date that have improved the lives of our patients:

  • A bi-partisan infrastructure law that builds bridges, improves transportation, and replaces lead pipes that carry drinking water
  • A law to protect veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.
  • Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (of which AMWA has supported from the beginning)
  • The Respect for Marriage Act that protects the rights of LGBTQ+ citizens
  • Ensuring that every community has access to affordable, high-speed internet.
  • Inflation Reduction Act that reduces medication costs, maintain health insurance subsidies, and addresses climate change through clean energy.
  • Nursing home reform to increase safety standards and improve technology
  • Access to over-the-counter hearing aids

President Biden spoke of wanting to instill dignity, self-worth, and satisfaction in a day’s work. Of supporting the middle class so that others “have a ladder up.” Of increased jobs, support of U.S. businesses, and promotion of manufacturing within the country to decrease reliance on imported products. Of decreased inflation

He discussed plans for and the need of support for:

  • Tax reform
  • Increased measures to protect consumers and prevent “junk” fees
  • Support for workers to unionize
  • Restoring the full Child Tax Credit
  • Ensuring paid family and medical leave
  • Importance of upholding Social Security and Medicare
  • Increased access to education and career opportunities and increased compensation for teachers
  • Continued vigilance against COVID-19 and new variants
  • Decrease tax fraud
  • Law enforcement reform
  • Increased first responders and mental health professionals
  • An assault weapons ban
  • The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
  • Immigration reform, border security, and citizenship for Dreamers
  • Reproductive rights: “Congress must restore the right the Supreme Court took away last year and codify Roe v. Wade to protect every woman’s constitutional right to choose.”
  • Bipartisan Equality Act to protect LGBTQ+ Americans
  • A Unity Agenda for the nation focused on opioid addiction, the mental health crises, veterans care, and the Cancer Moonshot: a goal to cut the cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years.

President Biden’s closing words spoke of the “inflection point” and the impact of “decisions…now” that will impact future generations. AMWA looks forward to supporting this administration in improving the health and wellbeing of our country – and most importantly, the patients that we serve.

Read the full State of the Union Speech here.

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