Manzullo, Durbin differ in responses

President Obama told a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night that health care must be reformed – the only question is how.

But that “how” was missing from his speech, Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill., said after the address.

“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.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, disagreed, saying the president presented a clear plan for health reform.

“Tonight the president laid out a clear plan to provide stability and security for those with health insurance and access to quality care for those who don’t,” Durbin said in a statement after the address.

Manzullo said both Republicans and Democrats agreed on 95 to 100 percent of the goals – affordable, accessible health care that isn’t dropped when you need it – but noted that the way the president wanted to reach those goals was where the debate started.

Manzullo does not support the so-called public insurance option backed by Obama that would compete with other insurance providers, and called for Obama to start over with a focus on alternatives that have the backing of Republicans, Democrats and independents.

Rep. Bill Foster, a Batavia Democrat whose district extends into parts of Huntley and Algonquin, also said both sides of the aisle have the same main goal.

“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.

But Foster said that he, too, would like to see more details, especially about the public option.

“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.

Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Barrington, through a spokesman declined an interview request and did not issue a statement following the president’s address.

- Shaw Suburban Media reporter Joe Grace contributed.

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