US President Barack Obama said Saturday he had found more than 300 billion dollars that could help his government make health care available to all Americans.
The announcement means that the president's health care reform project, estimated to cost around one trillion dollars, would be almost fully financed.
Advertisement"And I have made a firm commitment that health care reform will not add to the federal deficit over the next decade," Obama said in his weekly radio address.
He said that to keep this commitment, his administration had already identified how to pay for the 635-billion-dollar down payment on reform detailed in the budget proposal submitted to Congress earlier this year.
"So today, I am announcing an additional 313 billion dollars in savings that will rein in unnecessary spending, and increase efficiency and the quality of care - savings that will ensure that we have nearly 950 billion dollars set aside to offset the cost of health care reform over the next ten years," the president pointed out.
The president noted the amount included over 300 billion dollars that will be saved through changes like reducing Medicare overpayments to private insurers, and rooting out waste in the Medicare and Medicaid health programs that serve the elderly and the poor, respectively.
The president wants Congress to approve his health care reform proposals by the end of the year in order to fulfill one his key campaign promises -- providing health care to the 46 million Americans, some 15 percent of the population, who currently don't have any medical coverage.
But he also wants to reduce the budget deficit by half by 2013.
Obama acknowledged that health care reform will require additional costs in the short term in order to reduce spending in the long-term.
In his address, Obama noted that Medicare and Medicaid pose one of the greatest threats to the US federal deficit, and could leave the country "with a mountain of debt" that future generations would not be able to pay.
"We cannot continue down this path," he noted. "I do not accept a future where Americans forego health care because they can't pay for it, and more and more families go without coverage at all."
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