Wed, March 03, 2010
World > Americas > U.S. health care reform

Obama identifies agreements he's willing to seek with Republicans on U.S. health reform

2010-03-03 01:07:53 GMT2010-03-03 09:07:53 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, Mar. 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday identified several areas in his health reform proposal he' d like to seek agreement with Republicans, one day before he announces the way forward in the bruising fight.

In a letter addressed to Senate and House leaders, Obama commended them for their efforts in putting together last week's bipartisan summit on health reform, which produced no breakthrough. He also marked four areas of the reform he'd like to consider Republican recommendations.

"There are at least four policy priorities identified by Republican members at the meeting that I am exploring," Obama said in the letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Republican leaders in both chambers, Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative John Boehner.

The areas Obama identified include ways to combat fraud, waste, and abuse, additional funding to states for demonstrations of alternatives to resolving medical malpractice disputes, increased doctor reimbursement under Medicaid as the program expands to cover more people, and measures encouraging more people to use Health Savings Accounts.

Obama said he believes "piecemeal reform is not the best way to effectively reduce premiums, end the exclusion of people with pre- existing conditions," holding his ground in overhauling the system.

The House of Representatives and the Senate have separately passed their own versions of health care reform bill, but the unified version was stalled in Congress after Republican Scott Brown won the special election for a Senate seat in Massachusetts, ending Democratic Party's supermajority in the floor.

As last Thursday's summit failed to win over Republicans, Obama told lawmakers that he would move ahead on health care reform with or without Republicans.

One of the few options Democrats could push forward Obama's health reform proposal is "Budget Reconciliation," which can avoid a filibuster and need only a simple majority of 51 votes to pass the Senate.

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