WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) today issued the following statement regarding the President’s address to a joint session of Congress on health care reform last night.

Senator Gregg stated, “Last night, the President spoke passionately on the importance of reforming our health care system.  It is clear that he wants action now on this critical issue, as do I.  He delivered a laundry list of goals, many of which I agree with including insuring those with preexisting conditions, lowering health care costs, and tort reform.  In this complicated and extraordinarily important debate, the devil truly is in the details, and the President’s speech leaves us with many lingering questions.

“For instance, the President said that his health reform plan will not add ‘one dime to our federal deficits - either now or in the future.’  But how exactly will this be accomplished?  How do we pay for this massive expansion of the federal government which rings in at anywhere from just under $1 trillion to $2 trillion dollars? What really happens to people’s insurance – how do we ensure that employers won’t drop their employees’ coverage and transfer them to a government-run plan?  Where does the President really stand on the public plan?  For months we have heard mixed messages coming out of the White House as to whether or not the President will sign a bill without a public plan, tonight’s speech did little to clarify this highly partisan and divisive issue.

  “The plan outlined by the President is not pending before Congress. In fact, the proposals which have been produced in both the House and the Senate fail to accomplish his goals.   Rather than legislation that embraces ideas from both sides of the aisle, Congress is currently faced with only partisan plans that dramatically expand the size of the federal government, will put a Washington bureaucrat between you and your doctor, and promise to accelerate our nation’s debt at a massive rate which will cause our country to go belly-up. 

“Now that the President has given his address, I hope that my colleagues will restart the debate in a way that will result in bipartisan, sensible legislation.  Also, with many questions left unanswered by last night’s speech, I believe that Congress must act responsibly, not rashly, to ensure that health reform will truly protect people’s current insurance coverage and not saddle future generations with massive amounts of additional debt.”