Obama gives speech on health care reform

WASHINGTON - (AP) - After a summer of setbacks, President BarackObama summoned Congress to enact sweeping health care legislationWednesday night, declaring the "time for bickering is over" andthe moment has arrived to help millions who have insurance and manymore without it.

Obama said the changes he has in mind would cost about $900billion over decade, "less than we have spent on the Iraq andAfghanistan wars, and less than the tax cuts for the wealthiest fewAmericans" passed in the 1990s.

In a televised speech to a joint session of Congress, Obamaspoke in favor of an option for the federal government to sellinsurance in competition with private industry. But he said he wasopen to alternatives that create choices for consumers.

Obama's speech came as the president and his allies in Congressreadied an autumn campaign to enact his top domestic priority.While Democrats command strong majorities in both the House andSenate, neither chamber has acted on Obama's top domestic priority,missing numerous deadlines leaders had set for themselves.

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