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September 10, 2009

Vermont Delegation Applauds Obama Health Care Speech

You would have thought Pres. Barack Obama was addressing schoolchildren last night, as opposed to the day, before given the outburst by one Republican lawmaker.

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) all but yelled "liar, liar pants on fire!" as the president debunked common myths about the proposed health care reform effort. In short, the president said, his bill would not set up government-run "death panels" to kill off grandma, nor will it provide free health care to illegal immigrants.

In any event, Vermont's congressional delegation was on hand for the speech and as far as we know they only applauded and cheered along to the president's speech.

While many on the Left were hoping to hear the president come out strongly for a so-called public option component to be included in any reform effort, he only gave tepid support. While Vermont's delegation is uniformly supportive of a public option, none have committed — as others have in Congress — to vote against a bill that does not include a public option.

Here are their official statements:

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D)

The president delivered a clear call to the common purpose of achieving real health reform.  After months of spirited debate and arduous work, Congress needed to hear that.

The President laid out the compelling reasons why health reform can wait no longer. Tens of millions today lack health insurance, workers are losing insurance for their families when they change or lose jobs, and insurance companies can and do discriminate against sick people. We know this is a system that is unsustainable and that threatens not only our health security but also our economic security. Doing nothing has been seen as an option before, but it’s no option now. We have tried doing nothing for years, and the situation has only grown far worse.

I hear every day from Vermonters about their struggles to afford health insurance and to pay premiums that are rising by thousands of dollars every year.  I also heard this again and again last month while home in Vermont. I was pleased to hear the president renew his support for including a public insurance option in health reform. I strongly support a public insurance option as the surest way to infuse the health insurance marketplace with effective competition and innovation. Right now about half of the states are dominated by just one health insurer, and that is not effective competition. The American people deserve better and more affordable choices.

Health care reform must not be undermined or sidelined by partisanship or the inertia of the status quo.  For far too long already, Americans have struggled, as individuals and families, with the ever-rising costs of health care, along with fewer choices and greater uncertainty.  Now is the time for action.

I look forward to a productive debate in the Senate in the coming weeks and to passing health insurance reform before the end of the year.


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I)

“As the president mentioned, it is an international embarrassment that the United States remains the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all of its people, while spending twice as much per capita as most other nations.

“The president cogently made the case that the rabid partisanship that we have recently seen must end and the Congress must come together to provide comprehensive, universal and cost-effective health care for all Americans. 

“The reality is that, if we do not act now, the likelihood is that more and more Americans will lose their health insurance and health care costs will double within eight years. This would be a tragedy for the American people and for our economy. Doing nothing is not an option.”

Rep. Peter Welch (D)

“President Obama made clear tonight the urgency and necessity of reforming the nation’s health care system so that it benefits the American people — not the insurance industry.

"As I heard throughout Vermont during the past five weeks, Congress must focus on providing security and stability to those who have health insurance and extending access to those who don’t. By dispelling the myths that have percolated throughout the health care debate — nonexistent death panels and the rationing of care — the president tonight refocused the nation on the importance of improving health care for all families.

"In the coming weeks, I am optimistic we will pass a bill that will protect families and businesses from insurance company rip-offs, extend coverage to 37 million Americans, and provide more choice to Americans by creating a strong public option.”

How old is Communistican, (extreme republican facists), representative Joe Wilson? Mybe he should resign his seat and let a grownup have it?

Obama made a great argument last night and all he got was a childish response with no substance or meaning. This is what this country is up against with the communisticans. Pick up your torches and guide the way? The rebuttal was laughable and did nothing but call Obama's speech lies. I wish these people would listen? Perhaps that is not their objective? Perhaps it is to defeat our president and fail US, for the huge cooperate lawyers and insurance company executives? Dems and Independents need to stand up and take this country back, again!


Fred Patterson
Windsor VT

He IS a liar, though. Obama has had very little to do with the health care reform bill -- he has little to do with ANY of the political actions made in D.C.!! This health care reform doesn't change much of anything, and it's actually pretty damaging to folks with low-income jobs. Under some versions of the bill (let's remember, there isn't any one bill yet, just multiple versions made my various committees), people who want the public option but have access to health insurance through their job CAN NOT get the public option, no matter how expensive or terrible their job's coverage is. Folks who work at Wal-mart can technically get health insurance -- which is expensive, with huge co-pays and several gaps in the care. We're going to force them to pay out half their paycheck for insurance, rather than giving them tax-paid comprehensive care?

Some reform.

Screw Obama's whitewashing.

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