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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

Obama reax from WA & ID delegations

When a president talks, congresspersons listen...and then they talk, too.

Such was the case Wednesday night when Barack Obama talked about health care reform, and members of Congress talked about Obama's talk.

Go inside the blog to see what the honorables who represent the Inland Northwest had to say.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Obama gave a clear view that the current health care system can't keep going the way it is, which is pretty much what families and businesses already know.

    “And while health care rhetoric and political posturing have been on the rise, costs have too.   In fact, the largest private insurer in Washington state raised premiums by 17 percent last month.   It’s clear that doing nothing will solve nothing.
   “The reform we are working towards will provide stability and choice to families and businesses.  It will mean lower costs, stable and portable coverage and the promise that if you get sick, have a pre-existing condition or lose your job, you will not lose your health care.  Health care decisions will be put back in the hands of patients and their doctors.  And I support the President’s vision of a public plan. "

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., also thought Obama made a strong case for reform.

   "For the health of our citizens and our economy, we must extend health care coverage to those who don't have it now while protecting the coverage of those who do.
   "The key to both of these goals is reducing out-of-control costs and I believe that providing real competition in the health care insurance marketplace through a robust public option will help us get costs under control. I will be fighting to include a public option at every phase of the debate  
   “President Obama understands the importance of compensating health care providers the way we do in Washington state – based on the quality of care they provide, not the quantity of tests they order...And it’s important that our seniors understand that Medicare reform doesn’t mean less care, it means better care.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said the nation needs health care reform, but not a government takeover of the industry, or quick reform for the sake of reform.

  "Since the beginning of the discussion, I have been advocating an approach that is neither Democrat nor Republican, but that is right for American families.  That means reforms that preserve the special doctor-patient relationship, lowers costs and makes our nation healthier.”  
   “We shouldn’t rush to do something.  Instead, we need to be sure we’re doing the right thing.  I believe the right health care reforms will preserve individual choice and make health insurance more affordable for individuals, small businesses and their employees.  In addition, I favor reforming medical liability laws, investing in health information technology and reducing waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid and enhancing quality of services provided. "

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said he was concerned with Obama's support for a government option for health insurance, but thought there was common ground where both parties would agree.

   "Throughout the last month, as I traveled in Idaho, many Idahoans overwhelmingly expressed their concerns over the further encroachment of the federal government into their everyday lives, particularly related to health care reform. They shared their distrust of a government plan, losing their existing coverage and not being able to keep their doctor. Ultimately, they said they want Congress to take the time to get this right instead of passing the wrong bill too quickly for political reasons
   “Our national deficit is rapidly increasing and health care is too big, too personal, too important to rush or get it wrong. Add to that that many Americans are increasingly alarmed about the ever-growing deficit... I have concerns that President Obama’s three-part plan does not sufficiently address this problem. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office has shown that proposals in both the House and the Senate actually increase the deficit over the next ten years.
   “I support fair insurance market reforms so that all Americans can have access to health care. All Americans who are happy with their existing coverage should be able to keep their plan and their doctor. Preserving access to high-quality private health coverage, an increased focus on prevention and wellness initiatives, delivery system reforms and bending the growth curve of spending should be priorities in any comprehensive health care reform legislation

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said it was an excellent speech, but didn't deliver on the promise of details.

   “The president continues to promote the false choice of a complete government takeover or doing nothing.  We actually have another option, targeting specific areas of our current system to make coverage affordable to all.  We need to break down the specific areas and pass legislation that will actually fix problems.  And we must know the consequences of that legislation for Idahoans before it is implemented.”

Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, called the speech a positive step to getting back to consensus and ending partisan bickering.

    "I was encouraged tonight to hear the president speak about the issues which came up again and again in discussions with my constituents: Disallowing the use of pre-existing conditions to cut coverage or increase costs. Limits on out-of-pocket expenses. No caps on coverage. And a requirement that basic preventative care and education be provided as part of every insurance policy. I am also intrigued by the president’s call for a new insurance exchange, the kind of private-sector concept so many of my constituents support.
   “However, although the president spoke forcefully and eloquently, concerns remain. These reforms will not help our nation if they bankrupt our government and burden taxpayers. I also believe that a so called ‘public option’ is not the best way to hold insurance companies accountable, and would only create a new, expensive government bureaucracy. I hope these concerns can be addressed, and I hope we can move forward in a bipartisan manner toward a bill all Americans will support.”



The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.