Reactions from Neal and Patrick
Both Congressman Richard Neal and Gov. Deval Patrick issued immediate supporting reactions to President Barrack Obama's address to Congress on healthcare reform last week.
Neal wrote,"In his speech tonight, President Obama effectively hit the re-set button on health care reform and told the nation how he would fix our broken health insurance system. In many ways, it was the most honest, important and informative town hall held on health care since the debate began in January. I believe the President was candid with the American family and he clearly articulated the need and urgency for health care reform. He said he wanted a bipartisan plan, and clearly sought common ground with Congressional Republicans. But also he took the opportunity to remind us that every debate must come to an end. And he was emphatic that the time for action is now.
"Most Americans agree that there are imperfections in the current health care system. Increasing costs, the lack of portability and pre-existing condition exclusions are just a few. Hard working families see less in their paychecks each week but pay more for their health insurance. The plan the President announced tonight addressed these concerns and more. He wants to provide security and stability to those who have insurance, offer coverage to those who don't, and help lower skyrocketing costs. The bill passed by the Ways and Means Committee where I serve shared these basic principles. And at this critical moment, I believe the American people will also support these three goals.
"I also thought the President did a good job at exposing some of the myths about health care reform that have been put forward by his critics. There simply are no death panels, no support for illegal aliens and no threat to Medicare in his proposal. He put an end to the misinformation and distortion, and brought welcome civility to the process. I now look forward to working with him to make health care reform a reality this year."
Patrick wrote, "I commend the President for strong leadership on health care. This President is clearly prepared to seize the best chance we have had in generations to deliver security and stability for those Americans who have health insurance and affordable choices for those Americans who don't.
"Massachusetts has the most successful experiment in health care reform in the country right now, with nearly 98 percent of our residents with the peace of mind of adequate, reliable coverage. We accomplished this because people reached across all kinds of differences and recognized that our choices were not limited to the usual two: a perfect solution or no solution at all. The President has challenged the Congress to do the same, and to do so quickly. The best health and economic interests of the American people are at stake.
"It is more than a little disappointing to see the House minority leader announce that Republicans will not vote for health care reform whatever the final bill contains even though many of the ideas incorporated in the President's plan come from Republican leaders. Tonight some Republicans even showed by their lack of decorum that they are more committed to a campaign of distortion than to facing up to one of the greatest challenges before the American people.
"The people of America are ready for change. The president is leading the way. It's time for the Congress to close the deal."