Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are determined to show
significant progress on health care reform legislation before lawmakers
leave for their August break.
On Wednesday, House Democratic leaders reached a compromise with conservative members of the party on how to pay for reforms. The deal calls for the key House Energy and Commerce Committee to vote on the legislation before the end of the week.
The full House will then take up the bill in September.
Also on Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama held town hall meetings in the southern states of Virginia and North Carolina to campaign for health care reform. Mr. Obama said his plan will provide more security to Americans with medical insurance, and limit the power of insurance companies.
He also said his plan would not amount to a government takeover of health care - as some of Republican critics have charged.
A group of fiscally conservative party members had stalled the House bill, saying if passed, it would lead to uncontrollable costs.
The Senate is trying to reach a bipartisan agreement on a separate version of health care reform that would cost less than the version being worked on in the House. Eventually, both versions will have to be reconciled and passed as one measure.
Legislation that the president and his fellow Democrats want to pass by the end of the year would create a government health insurance option to compete with private insurers, require all individuals to have health insurance and mandate employers to provide it.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.