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US Lawmakers to Present Health Care Reform Bill


A group of U.S. lawmakers is expected to unveil a health care reform bill this week in the hopes that it will appeal to both Democrats and Republicans.

Members of the Senate Finance Committee have been negotiating a new version of the bill, but opposition Republican lawmakers have complained that Democrats are not seeking bipartisan solutions.

In his address to Congress last week, President Barack Obama described his $900 billion proposal that would include a government-run insurance option to provide competition to private companies, a so-called "public option."

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on U.S. television Sunday that the president's address showed little sign of compromise. Graham and other Republican lawmakers have criticized the reforms as costing too much and amounting to a government takeover of health care.

In separate interviews, President Obama's spokesman Robert Gibbs and advisor David Axelrod said a government-run "public option" is not the only way to provide health insurance to the estimated 45 million Americans without it.

Echoing that sentiment, Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill said concerns about any "public option" are distracting from the debate on how most people will receive their coverage.

On Saturday, thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., to protest the Obama administration's spending practices and health care reform initiative.

A succession of conservative speakers addressed the crowd. Many urged less government involvement in the lives of Americans. Others deplored the amount of taxpayer money spent on government programs.

A counter-protest was organized for Sunday near the Capitol in support of health care reform.

Mr. Obama has pledged to pass health care reform before the end of the year.

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