BOSTON /Massachusetts Newswire/ — The following is a statement from Governor Deval Patrick on this evening’s address by President Obama to a Joint Session of Congress. Statement of Governor Patrick: I commend the President for strong leadership on health care. This President is clearly prepared to seize the best chance we have had in generations to deliver security and stability for those Americans who have health insurance and affordable choices for those Americans who don’t.

Massachusetts has the most successful experiment in health care reform in the country right now, with nearly 98 percent of our residents with the peace of mind of adequate, reliable coverage. We accomplished this because people reached across all kinds of differences and recognized that our choices were not limited to the usual two: a perfect solution or no solution at all. The President has challenged the Congress to do the same, and to do so quickly. The best health and economic interests of the American people are at stake.

It is more than a little disappointing to see the House minority leader announce that Republicans will not vote for health care reform whatever the final bill contains — even though many of the ideas incorporated in the President’s plan come from Republican leaders. Tonight some Republicans even showed by their lack of decorum that they are more committed to a campaign of distortion than to facing up to one of the greatest challenges before the American people.

The people of America are ready for change. The president is leading the way. It’s time for the Congress to close the deal.