News24

Obama pushes for health care reform

2009-07-18 12:30

Washington - US President Barack Obama called on Congress Saturday to pass his health care reform, arguing that the stability of the entire US economy was at stake.

"This is an issue that affects the health and financial well-being of every single American and the stability of our entire economy," Obama said in his weekly radio address.

Last Tuesday, House Democratic leaders introduced a massive 1 000 page plan for overhauling the US health care system - one of Obama's top legislative goals.

Obama wants Congress to approve his health care reform proposals by the end of the year in order to fulfill one of his key campaign promises - providing health care to the 46 million Americans, some 15 percent of the population, who currently do not have any medical coverage.

Government insurance

Obama's health care plan includes a government insurance option, which has been fiercely criticized by Republicans.

The US president also hopes to cut in half runaway healthcare expenditures which, if unchecked, are forecast to gobble up one-fifth of US gross domestic product by 2013.

In his address Obama blasted opponents of his reform, insisting that special interests and partisan politics cannot be allowed to stand in its way.

He said that people familiar with the workings of the health care system "know we cannot continue to cling to health industry practices that are bankrupting families, and undermining American businesses, large and small.

"So today, I am urging the House and the Senate, Democrats and Republicans, to seize this opportunity, and vote for reform that gives the American people the best care at the lowest cost; that reins in insurance companies, strengthens businesses and finally gives families the choices they need and the security they deserve," the president concluded.

AFP