Wed, November 18, 2009
World > Americas > U.S. health care reform

Obama met House Democratic leaders as final push for health care reform

2009-11-07 18:42:17 GMT2009-11-08 02:42:17 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Saturday made a rare visit to Congress and met with House Democratic leaders, as his last-minute push for a health care reform that was expected to be passed later the day.

The president arrived at the Capitol Hill in late morning and held a close-door meeting with Democratic leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority leader Steny Hoyer.

He was scheduled to deliver a speech in Rose Garden at the White House in the afternoon, hours before the House of Representatives votes on the bill.

"He came here to say, 'This is what we said we would do in the campaign. Let's do it,'" said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told a press conference after the meeting with the president.

Pelosi also expressed her confidence to reporters that the bill will be passed with a majority support by congressional Democrats.

The House's unified version of health care reform bill, titled Affordable Health Care for America Act, is estimated to cost 894 billion U.S. dollars over next 10 years and would provide health coverage to 96 percent of Americans

As a flagship policy of the Obama administration, the passage of the health care reform bill will greatly boost his government and the Democratic Party as they are blamed for slow economic recovery and rising unemployment rate.

However, the legislation still faces hurdles in the Senate and has been delayed for several times.

Currently, Democrats hold 258 seats in the House and only need 218 votes to have the bill passed. It is still uncertain if any Republican congressman will join Democrats' camp in supporting the bill.

"The American people need to understand this is about a government takeover of the whole health care system," Rep. Paul Broun, a Georgia Republican, warned earlier the day.

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