26 Jun 2009

US senators closer to trillion-dollar healthcare bill

9:04 am on 26 June 2009

US senators on Thursday moved closer to agreement on a $1 trillion healthcare overhaul that would extend medical coverage to nearly everyone in the country.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and other panel members said that reducing the cost was a significant step toward getting a final package that could gain at least some Republican support.

Mr Baucus said panel members have narrowed talks to options that bring the price tag to about $US1 trillion over 10 years, down from an earlier estimate of $US1.6 trillion.

Later the group of Senate Finance Republican and Democratic negotiators issued a statement affirming their commitment to reach bipartisan agreement on the bill.

President Barack Obama has made a healthcare plan that reins in costs and covers most of the 47 million uninsured Americans one of his top legislative priorities.

He has turned up the pressure on Congress to pass healthcare reform this year and has indicated a willingness to compromise.