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President Barack Obama gathered doctors from every U.S. state at the White House on Monday to press his case for healthcare reform in a week when the sweeping overhaul could clear a major hurdle in Congress.
The Senate Finance Committee, the last of five panels in Congress to move on healthcare legislation, aims to vote this week on Obama’s top domestic policy priority, an effort meant to cut costs, regulate insurers and expand health insurance coverage to the millions of Americans now going without.
“At this point, we’ve heard all the arguments on both sides of the aisle,” Obama told the crowd of 150 white-coated doctors who support the healthcare drive.
“We have listened to every charge and every counter-charge — from the crazy claims about death panels to misleading warnings about a government takeover of our healthcare system,” he said as he plunged back into the healthcare debate after two weeks largely devoted to diplomacy.
The Senate Finance Committee has wrapped up debate on the overhaul of the $2.5 trillion healthcare system. But Democratic hopes that the panel could vote on the bill as early as Tuesday were dashed on Monday when Congressional Budget Office experts took longer than expected to deliver a cost estimate.
The vote still could take place later in the week.