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Americas

Obama defends health reform amid fierce criticism

Latest update : 2009-08-16

US President Barack Obama has stepped up his defence of proposed health care reforms, amid fierce attacks from Republicans who oppose a public health insurance programme. Some 46 million Americans live without any medical coverage.

AFP -Despite mounting criticism of his health care reform, US President Barack Obama expressed confidence Sunday that a national consensus on the measure was possible as he stepped up his campaign to win over public opinion.
  
"I am confident that when all is said and done, we can forge the consensus we need to achieve this goal," the president wrote in an op-ed piece in The New York Times. "We are already closer to achieving health-insurance reform than we have ever been."
  
He argued that the American Nurses Association and the American Medical Association were in favor of his reform, and that there was broad agreement in Congress on about 80 percent of what was necessary to do.
  
Obama also pointed out that his administration had an agreement with drug companies to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
  
The president 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.
  
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.
  
But he has met increasing resistance from Republicans and even some among his own Democratic Party worried about the costs of such a reform.
  
Obama toured western states this weekend as he took his drive for health care reform on the road in an attempt to wrest back control of the debate on his flagship domestic policy.
  
In his article, Obama warned that in the coming weeks, "cynics and the naysayers" will continue to try to undermine his reform proposals.
  
"But for all the scare tactics out there, what’s truly scary -- truly risky -- is the prospect of doing nothing," he warned.
  
"If we maintain the status quo, we will continue to see 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance every day," noted the president. "Premiums will continue to skyrocket. Our deficit will continue to grow. And insurance companies will continue to profit by discriminating against sick people." 

Date created : 2009-08-16

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