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Obama Expects Health Care Bill to Pass House


The White House says U.S. President Barack Obama believes House Democrats will have enough votes to pass his sweeping health care reform bill.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs says Mr. Obama has contacted more than two dozen lawmakers to urge their support.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says the House is on track to vote Sunday on the bill. The Senate has approved a health care reform package.

Gibbs also said President Obama has postponed a trip to Indonesia and Australia to stay in Washington as he awaits a final vote on his health care reform package. Gibbs said the trip was delayed because the vote in the House of Representatives will not occur before Sunday afternoon.

Gibbs said the president regrets the delay. But he said passage of health care insurance reform is of "paramount importance" and that the president is determined to see it through.

Mr. Obama was scheduled to depart on Sunday for Indonesia and Australia.

On Thursday, the independent Congressional Budget Office said the health care plan will cost $940 billion in its first 10 years. The CBO said the bill will reduce the federal deficit by $130 billion during that first decade and cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit in its second decade.

Democratic leaders hope those figures will ease the concerns some lawmakers have about the bill's massive price tag.

Republicans oppose the plan because of its costs and their concerns that it gives the government too much control over health care. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner said Thursday Republicans will do everything they can to ensure the bill never passes.

The proposed legislation would provide health care insurance to more than 30 million Americans who do not have it, and would ban certain insurance company practices, such as denying benefits for pre-existing medical conditions.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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