Obama health plan gets backing

November 8, 2009 12:00 am

, AMERICA, Nov 8 – The US House of Representatives has backed a healthcare bill in a step towards reforms promised by President Obama, despite strong opposition.

Passed in a narrow 220-215 vote, the bill aims to extend coverage to 36 million more Americans and provide affordable healthcare to 96%.

The bill now has to be reconciled with a separate Senate draft law.

President Obama has made reform of America’s healthcare system a central plank of his domestic agenda.

Before Saturday’s vote, Mr Obama made a rare visit to Congress to try to persuade wavering members of his own Democratic Party to back the bill.

He said such opportunities came around "maybe once in a generation".

The bill would allow the government to sell insurance in competition with private companies and make insurers offer cover to those with pre-existing conditions.

But this so-called "public option" had been scaled back in the wrangling that preceded the House vote.


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