PI Original Progress Illinois Thursday September 10th, 2009, 9:49am

Illinois Reps React To Obama's Health Care Pitch

Here a few reactions from the Illinois congressional delegation to President Obama's health care address last night. (You can read the full speech here.)

From a statement by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D):

I believe with this President
we are going to make history ...

Here a few reactions from the Illinois congressional delegation to President Obama's health care address last night. (You can read the full speech here.)

From a statement by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D):

I believe with this President we are going to make history by passing legislation that will meet the health care needs of all people. The American people have been subjected to months of lies and misinformation but tonight, President Obama set the record straight and made it very clear that the fundamental purpose of health insurance reform is to provide quality, affordable health care to the millions and millions of Americans who are hungry for this change.

The President knows that the best opportunity we have to bring down costs, increase access, and improve care is to create a robust public health insurance option that will create competition and hold health insurance companies accountable for the practices that price people out of the health care they need.

Rep. Phil Hare (D) said in a statement:

President Obama got it exactly right tonight. The time for games is over. The time for action is now. Health care is not a Republican or a Democratic issue, but a moral one.

Like the President, I support health care reform that eliminates preexisting conditions, includes a strong public option that competes with private insurance companies, preserves a patients right to choose the plan and the doctor that they wish, provides portability for those who lose their job, eliminates the Medicare Part D doughnut hole that fails to provide prescription drug coverage for too many seniors, and
reduces the number of uninsured by making quality and affordable health care available to all.

Three House committees, including my own, have passed a bill that does just that. It is time to move that legislation forward. If we do not act, more people will die, more families will go bankrupt, and more businesses will close because of the lack of affordable health care. Our nation and its citizens deserve better.

Rep. Bill Foster (D), as reported by the Northwest Herald:

“I was very impressed at how the core principles that he enunciated were actually accepted by both sides of the aisle,” Foster said, citing not building up additional debt and stopping policies that make it difficult for those with preexisting medical conditions to find health insurance. [...]

“I’d like to see the details of what will determine whether or not a state would have the public option or not. He mentioned being willing to talk about trigger mechanism, but the details are very important,” Foster said.

He said he wants to see rapid progress in Washington.

“People have been waiting for presidential leadership, and I think tonight that in many, but not all, areas they got it,” Foster said.

The White House released an overview of Obama's health care proposal last night, but it doesn't provide the level of specificity Foster is referring to here.  Meanwhile, downstate Rep. Jerry Costello (D) remains on the fence and is also calling for more "details":

Costello called Obama's speech before a rare joint-session of Congress "well-crafted and well-delivered." But Costello said he won't make up his mind about supporting the president's proposals until he understands how it will work and how it will be financed.

"I think we'll have to wait until he gives us the details of his proposal," he said.

If you watched the speech and saw the cut-away shots to the GOP side of the aisle, then you can guess how the Republicans from Illinois reacted.  Here is Rep. Don Manzullo:

“Unfortunately he presented nothing new. He did not present a blueprint of where he wants to take the nation,” Manzullo said. “That’s unfortunate because the devil is in the details. We are left with nothing but a speech.”

More from Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk:

"The American people in August have decided that they don't like Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi's bill, and I think we need to make some major changes. The speech I heard tonight was like the 28 other healthcare speeches that the president has given."

And Rep. John Shimkus responded -- not surprisingly -- with more fearmongering:

"We are not ready to allow the government to run a health insurance policy that will be subsidized by taxpayers," Shimkus said. "That would drive the private insurance market out of business and eventually lead to a one-payer system."


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