Obama makes final push for health care reform

(AP) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday made whatis expected to be his final push to overhaul the U.S. health caresystem, revising his plans in an attempt to win the support ofmoderate Democrats.

Obama's latest proposal included some ideas favored byRepublicans, though he has little hope of winning over even asingle Republican lawmaker. Republicans have called on him todiscard his proposals and start working with them on a new one.

But the White House hopes that by including elements ofRepublican plans, Obama can win over Democratic lawmakers fromconservative districts whose re-election hopes in November could bejeopardized by voting for the bill. If he can generate strongerDemocratic support, he can use parliamentary maneuvers to bypassRepublican objections.

"I don't see how another year of negotiations would help.Moreover, the insurance companies aren't starting over," Obamasaid, rejecting Republican calls to begin anew.

The president endorsed a plan by Democrats to try and enact thelegislation by majority vote - using a Senate procedure that woulddeny Republicans the right to procedural delays.

At its core, Obama's proposal would extend health care to tensof millions of uninsured Americans, while cracking down oninsurance company practices such as denying coverage on the basisof a pre-existing medical condition. The United States is the onlymajor industrialized country without universal health care.

Obama and congressional Democrats are working to mount aparty-line rescue mission for the health care legislation thatappeared on the cusp of passage late last year, only to be derailedwhen Republicans won a Massachusetts Senate seat that gave them theability to stop it.

Democrats still hold a majority in the 100-seat Senate, but theyare one seat shy of the 60 needed to stop Republican filibusters,delaying tactics meant to stall legislation.

There is still no certainty about the outcome - or even thatDemocrats will agree to the series of changes that Obama saidrepresented Republican contributions.

For Obama's speech calling for an up or down vote on health care, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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