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 US health overhaul should pass

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PostSubject: US health overhaul should pass   Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:26 am

http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/World/Story/STIStory_460749.html

WASHINTON - LEADING Democrats on Sunday said they expect Congress to pass a major healthcare reform backed by President Barack Obama, but supporters may have to accept legislation that falls short on some issues.

The US Senate on Monday is set to begin debate on the sweeping overhaul of the US$2.5 trillion (S$3.46 trillion) healthcare system amid growing concerns about the cost of the legislation that aims to provide medical coverage for millions of the uninsured.

'We want to cover the uninsured, yes, but we don't want to do it in a way that's going to drive up the costs for folks who currently have it,' said Senator Evan Bayh, one of a number of centrist Democrats whose support will be crucial to pass the the overhaul in the face of solid Republican opposition.

In an interview with 'Fox News Sunday,' Mr Bayh said he would push to make sure the legislation is cost effective but acknowledged that not every senator will get what he wants.

'I don't think we can afford to do nothing with costs going up 10, 15 per cent a year,' Mr Bayh said. 'My objective is to try and make that alternative of doing something as positive as we possibly can, realizing that - at the end of the day it may be just imperfect.'

Howard Dean, a physician and former governor from Vermont who has been critical of some of his fellow Democrats who do not back a public health insurance option, predicted on the same news show that Mr Obama would succeed on healthcare reform. 'We're going to pass a decent health care bill that really is going to start reform,' Mr Dean said. -- REUTERS

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