Obama makes final healthcare push

US president urges House Democrats to pass trillion dollar plan one day ahead of vote.

    Obama needs 216 votes in the House of Representatives for the measure to pass [AFP]

    "Don't do it for me, don't do it for the Democratic Party, do it for the American people. They're the ones looking for action right now."

    Obama needs 216 votes in the House if the measure is to pass.

    If successful the healthcare reform bill would extend coverage to 32 million more people, so that 95 per cent of Americans would have healthcare coverage.

    'Kill the bill'

    Critics of the measure have said they fear the move will make abortion easier.

    in depth
      Showdown over healthcare
      A matter of life and debt
      The paradox of US healthcare
      The healthcare sausage factory
      Fault Lines: Healthcare reform
      Fault Lines: The forgotten US patients
      Listening Post: The media divide on healthcare

    But Democratic leaders indicated that they had overcome disagreements within their ranks over abortion funding restrictions in the measure.

    Meanwhile, crowds of protesters demonstrated against the measure outside the Capitol building as Obama spoke on Saturday, holding signs that read "Kill the bill" and "Get your hands out of my pocketbook and health care".

    The legislation, which would prevent insurance companies refusing coverage to those with pre-existing medical conditions, has topped Obama's domestic priority list.

    According to the latest Gallup poll, only 48 per cent of Americans approve of Obama's performance in office; his lowest numbers as president. Only 45 per cent support his healthcare plan.

    With polls providing a mixed picture of their attitudes, the president has made clear he is willing to let voters decide in November whether healthcare should be approved or not.

    With more than one-third of the senate and all seats in the House of Representatives up for grabs, his fellow Democrats want to move past healthcare to focus on job creation and the economy.

    Obama acknowledged on Saturday that backing the bill would be a tough decision.

    "I know there is a tough vote," he said.

    "And I am actually confident, I've talked to some of you individually, that it will end up being the smart thing to do politically because I believe that good policy is good politics."

    If the measure clears the House vote, the US Senate would take up the changes next week.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.