TIP SHEET: President Bush's State of the Union Address

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday (Jan. 31), President George W. Bush is expected to discuss healthcare and tax reform, plus the increased use of nuclear energy to help reduce U.S. dependence on oil. The following expert sources from the University of Virginia are available to assist in your reporting:

Healthcare reform

Dr. Arthur Garson Jr., dean of the School of Medicine

A leading expert on national health policy, Dr. Garson has served in advisory capacities to the Bush administration and the state governments of Virginia and Texas and has strong views on healthcare reform:

“Tax breaks will clearly help reduce the uninsured,” Garson says. “The key is how much is the break. It’s no good if anyone has to come up with more than 5 percent of their income, or if they buy ‘insurance’ that when you read the fine print actually barely covers a doctor visit and no tests. More than 7 in 10 people who are uninsured work — and continue to work — and so the ability to be covered between jobs is vital. Automobile accidents don’t just occur when people are working.”

Garson has served on the White House Panel on Health Policy, the Institute of Medicine Task Force on the rapid improvements in the health care system, and in 2003 was appointed chairman of the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

He is currently helping to draft a U.S. Senate bill to "provide innovation in healthcare through state innovations."

Contact:  Dr. Arthur Garson, atg2n@virginia.edu, (434) 924-8419
Add’l assistance:  Peter Jump, prj4p@virginia.edu, (434) 924-1501


Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg, associate professor of business administration

An economist with expertise in strategy and innovation, Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg focuses her current research on innovation in health care. She is co-author of the book Redefining Health Care, written with Michael E. Porter, director of Harvard Business School’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness. The book, to be published this May by Harvard Business School Publishing, addresses the paradox of why competition doesn’t work and how to make it work.

“The president is probably going to talk about health care savings accounts during the State of the Union address,” Teisberg says. “While HSAs are a good savings vehicle, they are not the solution to the U.S. health care system. The problem with our health care system isn’t that we have too much or too little competition, but that we have the wrong kind of competition. The structure of health care delivery has to change. Consumer-driven healthcare won’t work.”

Teisberg is also a strong believer in universal health care coverage: “Not just for reasons of ethics,” she says, “but for reasons of economy as well.”

Background: http://www.isc.hbs.edu/firm-soci-healthcare.htm and http://faculty.darden.virginia.edu/teisberge/healthcare.htm.

Contact (beginning Feb. 1):  Elizabeth Teisberg, teisberge@virginia.edu, (434) 293-4003
Add’l assistance: Kathleen Valenzi, kvalenzi@virginia.edu, (434) 924-6857


Anup Malani, associate professor of law

An expert on health care law, Malani holds joint appointments in the School of Law and the School of Medicine. He also works as a research affiliate for the Joint Center for Poverty Research at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

Contact: Anup Malani, am5mm@virginia.edu, (773) 702-9602
Add’l assistance:  Carolyn Dillard, cdillard@virginia.edu, (434) 982-3030

Tax cuts

George K. Yin, Howard W. Smith Professor of Law

From 2003-2005, George Yin served as chief of staff of the U.S. Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation, one of the most influential tax positions in the country. While at the Joint Committee, Yin assisted Congress on a number of tax bills, including the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 and the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.

Yin previously coordinated for the Senate Finance Committee a major project to reform and simplify the tax laws dealing with corporate-shareholder transactions, including corporate mergers, acquisitions, and reorganizations.

Between 1994-99, he was reporter to the American Law Institute's federal tax project concerning the income taxation of private business enterprises, such as closely held corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies.

Contact:  George K. Yin, gyin@virginia.edu, (434) 924-7025
Add’l assistance:  Carolyn Dillard, cdillard@virginia.edu, (434) 982-3030


Mildred W. Robinson, Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law

A Commissioner from Virginia to the National Conference on Uniform State Laws from 1990-94, Robinson teaches federal income tax, state and local tax, and trusts and estates.

"There is common agreement that the tax cuts have worked well for those who shop at Neiman Marcus, but Wal Mart shoppers (and workers) have a quite different view of the strength of the economy. This difference is more than a matter of perspective. The wealth gap in our country is increasing, and our tax system is increasingly less structured to tax according to ability to pay."

Contact:  Mildred Robinson, mwr@virginia.edu, (434) 924-7932
Add’l assistance: Matt Kelly, mkelly@virginia.edu, (434) 924-7291

Nuclear power as alternative to U.S. dependence on oil

John J. Dorning, Whitney Stone Professorship in Nuclear Engineering
A chaired professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Virginia with four decades of experience in nuclear engineering research, Dorning can discuss the President's proposal from an energy-use perspective.

"Yes, we do need to cautiously move forward toward re-establishing the United States' leadership in civilian nuclear power," says Dorning, a recipient of the U.S. Department of Energy's prestigious Ernest O. Lawrence Memorial Award for research excellence in the area of nuclear technology.

Contact info:  John Dorning, jjd3r@virginia.edu, (434) 979-9689
Add’l assistance:  Fariss Samarrai, farisss@virginia.edu, (434) 924-3778.

For assistance in tracking down expert sources who could speak about other aspects of the State of the Union address, or to locate expert sources regarding other topics, please contact Kathleen Valenzi, kvalenzi@virginia.edu, (434) 924-6857, or Carolyn Dillard, cdillard@virginia.edu, (434) 982-3030.