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Obama urges action on healthcare reform

Also today, a Senate panel approved legislation that would expand insurance coverage to nearly all Americans, becoming the first congressional panel to act on the divisive issue.

Speaking from the White House Rose Garden today, President Obama again called on lawmakers to pass reforms to the U.S. healthcare system.

"Deferring reform is nothing more than defending the status quo,” he said, “and those who would oppose our efforts should take a hard look at just what it is they’re defending."

It was the third straight day that Obama has used the power of his office to focus national attention on health care reform – a key plank in his domestic agenda.

Surrounded by a group of nurses, he also praised work being done in the House and Senate to push forward healthcare reform. Obama has asked for legislation before Congress begins its August recess.

A Senate health committee today, in a 13-10 vote, approved legislation that would expand insurance coverage to nearly all Americans, becoming the first congressional panel to act on divisive issue. No Republican on the panel voted for the measure.

Obama said in a statement that the proposal would "bring down costs, expand coverage, and increase choice." The committee vote, he added, "should . . . provide the urgency for both the House and Senate to finish their critical work on health reform before the August recess."

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