Obama largely avoids healthcare in State of the Union

President Obama made only glancing references to healthcare reform during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Although Democrats insist that Obama will be able to campaign on the healthcare law, it was almost entirely absent from a speech that helped establish the themes and frames of his reelection campaign.

"I’m a Democrat.  But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed:  That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more … That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work.  That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a Government program," Obama's prepared remarks state.

He also said he would not go back to the days when insurance companies could deny people coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

It's by far the smallest amount of attention healthcare has gotten in Obama's three State of the Union addresses, never mind the joint-session address he devoted entirely to trying to push healthcare across the finish line in 2009.

Tuesday's speech also made no reference to medical malpractice reform, an area where Obama said last year he would be willing to work with Republicans. Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a video earlier Tuesday criticizing Obama for not coming to an agreement on tort reform.