Obama welcomes progress on health care overhaul

Barack Obama welcomed progress on health care overhaul as Senate Democrats and the administration closed in on a deal with hospitals to help pay for his proposed expansion of medical coverage to the uninsured.

Several officials said Monday that after talks involving the White House and Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, that hospitals were on the verge of agreeing to reduce their anticipated payments from Medicare and Medicaid by about $155 billion over a decade. The government could use the money to help provide health coverage to millions who now lack it, The Associated Press reports.

The President said on Tuesday public health insurance plan would be one of the best ways to bring down costs and "force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest," Reuters reports.

“I look forward to a final product that achieves these very important goals,” Barack Obama said.

He has repeatedly offered support for a public healthcare plan, and some liberal groups pushing for a public healthcare option seized on Obama’s statement as a repudiation of remarks reported in The Wall Street Journal by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, The Hill reports.