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Obama still hopeful over reforms

2nd March 2010

Although both sides remain strongly polarised, US President Barack Obama is still striving to inject new life into the US healthcare debate.

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Last week, he aimed to garner support from both sides by making several proposals and holding talks at the White House, and several days ago he urged Republicans and Democrats to set aside their differences on the issue of healthcare.

It is the first time that Obama has put forward his own proposals about the issue.

Even before the meeting took place, Democrats in Congress were enthusiastic about the proposal.

However, Republicans are still uncertain about the healthcare bill, and it is still unclear whether the new healthcare reform legislation will gain enough votes to pass into law.

Obama has warned Republican legislators that he plans to try to pass healthcare legislation whether or not their party supports his efforts.

The president said that he believed it was time for people to come together and act, and that lawmakers should live up to their responsibilities to future generations.

Earlier this year, Obama's plan to provide health care for all uninsured US citizens was stalled by the loss of a Democratic party seat in the US Senate.

Prior to that loss, the Democrats had 60 seats in the Senate, meaning that any attempt on the part of Republicans to forestall legislation by filibustering debates was doomed to failure.

However, Obama said he felt Democrats and Republicans might be able to resolve some of their differences.

Most Democrats are currently hoping for comprehensive healthcare reform, while most Republicans are hesitant to make changes to the current system.

Some Democrats are also trying to find ways to draft the legislation in a way that would allow them to bypass the need for much Republican support, using a procedure known as budget reconciliation.

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, Republican, said it seemed very hard to believe Democrats would be able to use budget reconciliation against Republicans on the issue of health reform, since it was never designed to be used with a large, comprehensive piece of legislation.

Nevada Senate majority leader Harry Reid, Democrat, said that former president George Bush used budget reconciliation to pass tax cuts when he was elected, as did Ronald Reagan.

In a statement, the White House said that Obama's new proposal would eventually help over 31 million uninsured Americans to afford healthcare.

The proposal would make it impossible for insurance companies to deny coverage to people who already had medical problems requiring treatment.

Obama said that his plan would put the US budget and economy on a more stable path by reducing the deficit by US$ 100 billion (£64.5 billion) over the next 10 years.

Regarding the attempt to pass healthcare legislation using budget reconciliation, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said that the new proposal was designed to give maximum flexibility to Democratic lawmakers.

 

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Comments

Alan Gellatly

Monday 1st March 2010 @ 16:23

You know we tend to lok at the US and think that they are ahead of the game in terms of Healthcare. The scare stories in relation to UK and the NHS are obviously written in ignorance of our system.

President Obama is correct when he states that healthcare should not develop into a political theatre and in truth the US could learn a great deal from the UK Healthcare systems.

Collegues from Healthcare RM carried out research in the US some 25 years ago and you know what the US was behind in healthcare then and they have not moved forward.


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