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Obama Calls for Bipartisan Health-Care Reform

US President Barack Obama delivers the weekly address, 20 Feb 2010

US President Barack Obama delivers the weekly address, 20 Feb 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama is trying again to get a health care reform plan through Congress, after the legislature failed last year to produce a bill for him to sign.

In his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, Mr. Obama calls on members of both political parties to come together in "good faith" at a special meeting next week to discuss the issue.

He said the meeting will test not just whether the government can solve this one problem, but any problem.

Republicans already are expressing doubts about the process. Speaking in his party's weekly address, Michigan Congressman David Camp accused Democrats of drafting a new bill in secret. He said if that is true, then the upcoming meeting "will likely be a charade."

Next week's meeting will be televised on the congressional cable channel.

Mr. Obama has been pushing for health care reform since taking office last year. He says insurance companies are denying coverage to many, and others cannot afford coverage or health care as costs skyrocket.

A political defeat in January for his party in a Massachusetts U.S. senate race was widely seen as a sign that voters did not support the health care bills under discussion.

The Democrats' majority in the Senate also decreased, such that they would no longer be able to push through a bill if Republicans chose to block a vote, which they had pledged to do.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.