What did you think of the president’s health-care speech last night?
Following are the statements issued by our congressional delegation.
Sen. Tim Johnson
"This evening, the President clearly outlined his goals for a comprehensive health care reform effort. I appreciated his leadership on this issue tonight, and hope it continues in the days and weeks ahead. I am glad to see that he addressed the issue of pre-existing conditions, and that his proposal includes ideas from both sides of Capitol Hill and both sides of the aisle.
"Although I remain a strong supporter of a public option, the success or failure of this reform effort should not rest on a public option alone. There may be additional ways to contain cost and increase the availability of health care. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this issue.
"I was glad to hear more from the President on an insurance exchange, which has been put forth in legislation by both the HELP and Finance Committees. The concept of an insurance exchange would make insurers compete for new business by offering competitive prices. It’s an appealing idea and I look forward to hearing more specifics.
"The President was correct in saying that Congress has been working on this issue for the better part of this year with five committees having developed different bills. I remain as committed as ever to reforming our health care system and building on the progress we have made these last few months. This is about fixing what is broken and keeping what works, so that more Americans can have access to affordable health care."
Sen. John Thune
“I stand ready to work with the President and Congressional Democrats on a bipartisan common sense health care solution that would lower costs and improve care rather than force a massive new government expansion on the American people that would add to the debt, raise taxes, cut Medicare and put a government bureaucrat in charge of your health care. It is time for President Obama to put politics, ideology and the wants of special interest groups aside and show some leadership by working in a truly bipartisan manner on a health care reform package that will improve health care and lower costs without burdening our children and grandchildren with trillions of dollars in new debt."
Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
“What we heard from the President tonight is what I heard the vast majority of South Dakotans acknowledge as I traveled the state throughout the month of August: health care reform is necessary because the status quo is unsustainable. There is too much at stake for South Dakota’s families and businesses. I was pleased to hear the President focus on two issues in particular-common sense insurance market reforms that already enjoy bipartisan support and the need to effectively address skyrocketing health care costs going forward.
“To be sure, work remains to determine the best way forward. While I cannot support the House bill in its current form, I believe we have a responsibility to pass health care reform legislation that is deficit neutral, that ensures access, fairness and affordability of coverage for South Dakotans, and that takes a responsible approach to long-term costs with a focus on achieving higher quality health care outcomes."