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Obama Launches Health-Care Plan

President Obama rolled out the first phase of what he has promised to be comprehensive health-care reform at the White House moments ago, announcing a new group made up of a number of former enemies of health-care proposals.

"Some of these groups were among the strongest critics of past plans of comprehensive reforms," Obama said, not identifying President Clinton's ill-fated 1993 reform plans, but clearly implying them.

The groups taking part in Obama's plan include the American Medical Association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the American Hospital Association, America's Health Insurance Plans and the Service Employees International Union.

Economists generally agreed that rising health-care spending, particularly by the government's Medicare and Medicaid programs, put the economy at risk, especially as the baby boomers reach retirement and live longer.

Both programs, combined with Social Security, push the deficit -- and the overall national debt -- higher, eating into GDP.

Obama projected that health-care spending could eat up 20 percent of the national output within a decade.

Obama said the members of the group have pledged to cut the growth of national healthcare spending by 1.5 percent each year from 2010 to 2019, which he said will save $2 trillion.

Obama also plans a COBRA subsidy for the unemployed, more money for preventative health care and more efficiency through computerized, online medical records.

Key to any health-care package, the president said, is the ability of people to keep doctors they already have or choose new ones if they want to.

He inserted a personal note, saying that his mother died of ovarian cancer and spent too much time worrying about whether her insurance would cover her illness, Obama said.

Follow all the news of health-care changes at The Post's new special report on the topic, which you can see here.

Veteran Post health policy reporter Ceci Connolly will be writing a blog with news updates called the Daily Dose.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  May 11, 2009; 1:07 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, healthcare reform  
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