Liberal Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio heard in the speech a full-throated endorsement for a public option. “I think that when the president of the United States weighs in so strongly, surely (legislation) passes the House and I think there's a very good chance it passes the Senate with a public option in it.”
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, acknowledged that Obama “didn't get into the weeds” in discussing specifics of his proposal. “He was trying to communicate to the American people the direction he's taking us” on healthcare reform,” he said.
But Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who earlier this summer broke away from a small group of Senate negotiators who continue to shape a bill, said, “I have to admit he was gracious and he did reach out, but a lot of the assertions were flawed and, you know, this is not as simple as he was trying to make out.”
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), called the president's assertion that his healthcare reform plan would be paid upfront “a fantasy.”
“Medicare's going broke and to suggest that we'll take control of this situation and save money … that will be a first in history,” he said.
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