Many voters want to hear President Donald Trump talk about healthcare policy in his State of the Union address tonight, but experts predict it won't be a key topic in the speech.
Morning Consult and Politico polled (PDF) about 2,000 voters, and 59% said they think it's "very important" for Trump to talk about how he would fix the healthcare system in the speech. More than 4 in 5 people responded that they think including healthcare is either very or "somewhat" important.
The poll results suggest that voters see healthcare as a more important topic now even when compared to the Obama administration, Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult's co-founder and chief research officer told Politico.
"Notably, 76% of voters said it was important for President Obama to discuss improving the healthcare system during his final State of the Union address in 2016, compared with 82% who say the same about President Trump's address today," Dropp said.
But political experts expect that healthcare could be left out of tonight's speech, though central issues, like calls to repeal the Affordable Care Act, could get a passing mention, according to an article from MedPage Today. Analysts at the Brookings Institution, a left-leaning think tank, told the outlet that other major healthcare policy concerns, like the opioid crisis, would likely be left out entirely.
"I expect this is going to get very scant attention, because there isn't much for him to say about what he's been doing on that," Camille Busette, Ph.D., senior fellow in governance studies, told MedPage.
The GOP-controlled Congress attempted on several occasions last year to roll back key elements of the Affordable Care Act, eventually succeeding in repealing the law's individual mandate as part of a tax reform package. Brookings' staff expects that this policy change could be mentioned in the speech, according to the article, as Trump has lauded the move as "essentially repealing Obamacare."
A pro-ACA group is launching a widescale advertising campaign ahead of the speech to counter Republican arguments about repealing the law, it announced. The group, called Save My Care, said ads for the "Enough is Enough" campaign will air in the District of Columbia, West Virginia, Maine and Alaska.
“At this week’s Republican retreat in West Virginia, members of Congress won’t be able to look at a TV without being reminded of their harmful repeal-and-sabotage campaign, and will be encouraged to say ‘enough is enough,’ Leslie Dach, Save My Care's campaign chairman, said in the announcement. "It’s time to listen to what Americans demand, move on from repeal and sabotage and work on bipartisan solutions that keep and improve on the Affordable Care Act.”
The ad is embedded below: