For the first time, President Trump is giving a speech to a joint session of Congress*. Since the President has a habit of keeping us all guessing, here is a wish-list of things we would like to hear Mr. Trump talk about.
Healthcare reform. The Affordable Care Act had good intentions. It is obviously within society's best interest to have as many people covered by health insurance as possible. However, the ACA is flawed. Medical costs keep rising. CNN Money reported in September 2016 that "[p]rices for medicine, doctor appointments and health insurance rose the most last month since 1984." Our award-winning resident pediatrician, Dr. Jamie Wells, also has indicated that patients lack an adequate choice in doctors, and doctors are responsible for too many patients. President Trump needs to lay out a vision to fix these problems.
EPA reform. Founded by President Richard Nixon, the Environmental Protection Agency has done a lot of good over the decades. Without a doubt, our air and water are cleaner, and people are safer and healthier as a result. However, not all regulations are equally worthy. In particular, the EPA seems to believe that anything that gets wet falls under its regulatory purview. Mr. Trump's executive order demanding the repeal of two older regulations for every new proposed regulation is a good start. But he should provide further details on a plan to tame the bureaucratic leviathan while upholding the EPA's core mission.
A new energy policy. For far too long, our country has relied on fossil fuels from unfriendly countries. It is time for a major shift in policy. Fortunately, energy policy is something that is completely within our own control, and the ideal policy is very simple: Use natural gas as a bridge to a carbon-free future powered by nuclear, solar, and wind. Such a policy should appeal to conservatives (who worry about national security) and liberals (who fret over the environment and climate change).
A grand vision for science. By the end of his presidency, what does Mr. Trump hope to see the scientific community accomplish? President George W. Bush wanted to return to the moon and put a man on Mars. President Obama wanted the human brain mapped. Likewise, Mr. Trump should galvanize the scientific community with an ambitious goal.
If Mr. Trump discusses these issues, he might make scientists and doctors very happy.
*Fun fact: Typically, these speeches are referred to as State of the Union addresses. However, according to CNN, the custom is that a President must be in office for a year before he gives a State of the Union address. Thus, this speech is billed simply as an address to Congress.