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President Barack Obama said on Thursday a report on his proposed legislation to overhaul the healthcare system showed it would reduce the nation's budget deficit over the long term.

House Democrats are pushing to the brink of passage a landmark, $940 billion health care overhaul bill that would simultaneously deliver on President Barack Obama's promise to expand coverage while slashing the deficit, a strategy aimed at attracting support from the party's fiscal conservatives.

The 10-year plan would provide coverage to more than 30 million people now uninsured through a combination of tax credits for middle class households and an expansion of the Medicaid program for low income people. Release of the legislation later Thursday sets the stage for a House vote on Sunday.

It would restructure one-sixth of the U.S. economy in the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare was created in 1965. It would also impose new obligations on individuals and businesses, requiring for the first time that most Americans carry health insurance and penalizing medium-sized and large companies that don't provide coverage for their workers.

Hospitals and doctors, drug companies and insurers would gain millions of new paying customers, but they would also have to adjust to major changes. Medicare cuts would force hospitals to operate more efficiently or risk going out of business. Insurance companies would face unprecendented federal regulation. Health care industries would be hit with new federal taxes. Upper-income households would face a new tax on investment earnings.


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