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Obama unveils healthcare deal.

5/12/2009 2:15:37 AM

The US president, has unveiled what he says is an "historic" deal with healthcare providers to cut rises in medical costs by up to $2 trillion over 10 years.

Barack Obama said a coalition representing doctors, hospitals, drug manufacturers, insurers and workers had agreed to help reduce the rise in healthcare costs by 1.5 percentage points per year over a decade.

"Costs are out of control, reform is not a luxury to be postponed but a necessity that can't wait," Obama said at the White House on Monday.

Flanked by representatives of the different industry groups, Obama called the pledge "a watershed event in the long-elusive quest for healthcare reform".

The reductions could save the average family of four $2,500 in healthcare costs, the White House said.

None of the groups, which included the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association, offered details on how they would cut costs.

Republican opposition

Healthcare reform was a key pledge of Obama's election campaign, and critics warned that US healthcare providers had opposed previous attempts at reform and pointed out that the deal was not enforceable.

"The patient has been left out of the administration's back-room deal with special interests," said John Cornyn, a Republican senator and member of the Senate Finance Committee that has jurisdiction over health care.

"The American people deserve real solutions to our health care crisis, not another special interest working group."

The US, which has the most costly healthcare system in the world, and about 46 million Americans without health insurance pay for their care.

Studies have shown it lags other developed nations on key indicators of healthcare quality, including life expectancy and infant mortality. 2003 - 2009

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Date:May 12, 2009
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