Obama welcomes progress on health care

July 7, 2009 1:46:37 PM PDT
President Barack Obama says he's pleased with the progress that's been made on overhauling health care. Several officials, speaking anonymously, say the nation's hospitals are near a deal with the White House and a key lawmaker to pick up part of the cost of Obama's plan for expanded health coverage.

That word followed talks yesterday involving the White House and Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The officials say a formal White House announcement could come as early as today, with Vice President Joe Biden standing in for the traveling president.

In a White House statement today, Obama reiterated his support for creation of a government-run plan to compete with private insurance companies as a way to "keep them honest." He says that's one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices and ensure quality.