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Page last updated at 01:32 GMT, Sunday, 14 June 2009 02:32 UK

Obama outlines healthcare savings

US President Barack Obama
Barack Obama made healthcare a key plank of his election campaign

President Barack Obama has announced a further $313bn (£190bn) in proposed savings to help reform US healthcare.

His proposed 10-year reform programme is estimated to cost about $1 trillion, and aims to make healthcare available to all Americans.

He said the savings would "rein in unnecessary spending and increase efficiency and the quality of care".

The US spends more than $2 trillion a year on healthcare, although nearly 50m people have no medical insurance.

In his weekly radio address, President Obama said: "I have made a firm commitment that healthcare reform will not add to the federal deficit over the next decade."

Cutting waste

His announcement of the additional $313bn comes on top of the $635bn down payment on reform detailed in the budget proposal submitted to Congress this year.

The savings will incorporate cutting waste in the Medicare programme for the elderly and Medicaid programme for poor people.

Mr Obama, who has pledged to halve the budget deficit he inherited from the Bush administration by 2013, said Medicare and Medicaid 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 healthcare because they can't pay for it, and more and more families go without coverage at all."

Health reform was one of Mr Obama's key election promises, as he focused on providing healthcare for the 46 million citizens, about 15% of the population, who have no medical cover.



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