Obama shines spotlight on healthcare reform beneficiaries at SOTU

The White House has invited two people it says have benefited from Democrats' healthcare reform law to sit with first lady Michelle Obama during Tuesday's State of the Union address.

James Howard, a brain cancer patient from Texas, is taking advantage of the law's Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. The law set aside $5 billion for state-based, high-risk pools until 2014, when the law requires insurance companies to cover everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions.

Also in the first lady's box will be Jim Houser, an auto repair shop owner from Oregon who estimates that the law's small business tax credits will save him more than $10,000.

The invitations coincide with the White House's new "Voices of Health Reform" campaign highlighting people who are already benefiting from some of the law's provisions. The campaign seeks to draw attention to positive aspects of the law, particularly in local and state media, as Republicans move forward with their plans to repeal the law.

Please check back with Healthwatch later tonight for live blogging of the State of the Union, including reaction from lawmakers.