President Barack Obama's monumental task of rapidly reforming US healthcare received a boost on Wednesday, as key Congressional allies said legislation would be on the table by the end of July.
"We promised him that we will have this important legislation on the floor of the House before the August break," said Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, after a meeting with Obama at the White House.
"Our goal is to have a healthier America, legislation will be on the floor by the end of July, I am quite certain," said Pelosi after the meeting which included a clutch of Democratic lawmakers.
Obama has said he wants to extend coverage to the estimated 46 million Americans who currently have no health insurance, but faces calls for more sweeping reforms from within the Democratic Party.
Some Democrats have called for the introduction of a European-style universal healthcare system, which faces strong opposition from Republican lawmakers.
After meeting the lawmakers, Obama indicated he would leave Congress to draft the legislation, but called for it to encompass "three basic principles."
"First that the rising costs of health care have to be brought down; second, that Americans have to be able to choose their own doctor and their own plan; and, third, all Americans have to have quality, affordable health care.
"Our health care system is broken," Obama said. "It's unsustainable for families, for businesses, it is unsustainable for the federal government and state governments.
"That's why we've got to get this done. We've got to get it done this year, both in the House and in the Senate. And we don't have any excuses: the stars are aligned."