Rob McKenna released a video statement today commenting on Governor Gregoire’s “State of the State” address yesterday with some critical comments.  “She’s missing the point” was both the spiritual and the literal underpinning of the comments.

Most of the comments were on moving the budget to a more sustainable platform, reforming government before raising taxes, and fully funding education first over other state programs.

While many folks found his comments at our State of Reform conference to be very well informed – including me – this statement left me with the opposite impression.

Out of 7 minutes, 37 seconds, only 14 seconds were devoted to health care.  Here is the quote, which begins at 5:21.

“To save the state money on health care costs, more Medicaid patients should be in managed care programs, and so should more state employees.  Better care at a lower price is best for everyone.”

In principle, I’d agree with the spirit of the statement.  My concern, however, is three fold.

—  You can’t get fund education, and get the budget on a sustainable path, unless you address health care.  Fourteen seconds, or 3% of your air time doesn’t instill confidence in me that he fully has grasped this important element.

—  Moving Medicaid patients to managed care is a good idea, but it’s one the state implemented over a decade ago.  We have 700,000 Medicaid patients in managed care now.

—  “Better care at a lower price is best for everyone.”  Again, agreed, but this sort of over-simplified generalization doesn’t move the ball or conversation forward.

I know McKenna has some good talking points on health care.  I’ve heard them at our event.  But the response to the State of the State speech is a much bigger message, and likely one given far more thought by the campaign.  This is a step backwards for McKenna on health care rather than a step forward.

The complete video statement is here.