Response in North Carolina to President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress didn't appear to eliminate the sharp divisions on the most vocal sides of the health care issue.
A crowd of more than 1,000 people listening to him Wednesday night at a Raleigh event put on by a conservative watchdog group booed at times and laughed at some of Obama's comments.
Ralph Dean of Raleigh said the president again failed to provide specifics about the plan he wants Congress to pass.
Democrats who heard his speech praised Obama. State Democratic Party Chairman David Young said he made a compelling case about the need to pass health insurance reform this year. Young said Republicans are only opposed to reform to hurt the president.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Democratic Senator Kay Hagan released this statement:
“Tonight President Obama addressed Congress and the nation about his vision for health care reform. He said we need to provide security and stability to people who have insurance, expand access to health insurance to those who do not, and slow down the exploding costs of health care.
“The President is dedicated, as I am, to strengthening our existing, employer-based system. We agree the reform package must stabilize costs, expand coverage and ensure that a preexisting condition does not prevent anyone from obtaining health insurance. As I have said all along and the President just confirmed – people who like their current insurance and doctors will keep them. The President also wants to create more competition in the insurance market and help small businesses provide health insurance coverage, which I believe are critical components for inclusion in the final bill.
“The President was adamant that health care reform will not add to our federal deficit now or in the future. He specifically said he would not sign a bill that adds one dime to our deficit, which has been a requirement of mine all along.
“I agree with President Obama that our country needs health care reform that stabilizes costs and provides security to our families. A medical condition should never cause a family to declare bankruptcy.”
Republican Senator Richard Burr released this statement:
“I applaud the president’s call for action on health care reform, and agree that we must do something. Whatever we do, however, we must get it right. Any plan we consider must promote wellness, prevention, and chronic disease management while expanding access to quality care for all Americans. Further, any health care reform legislation must be financially sustainable over the long term.
“Recently, I have heard from many North Carolinians who are adamant that health care reform not be rushed through Congress. I am hopeful that my colleagues will realize the need to pass responsible health care reform on a bipartisan basis, not just push legislation through without proper debate and consideration of the consequences for all Americans.”