Obama bats for speedy health reform bill

US president Barack Obama US president Barack Obama is facing stiff resistance to his proposed $1.2 trillion overhaul of America's health system that would reduce health costs, increase choice and widen coverage.

Senate majority leader Harry M Reid said yesterday that his chamber is unable to pass health-care reform before its August recess, a move that highlighted internal divisions on the legislation.

Reid's acknowledgment that the Senate would miss the 7 August deadline set by Obama for each chamber to pass the bill is a serious setback for the president.

However, Obama sought to play down the Senate's missed deadline, saying, ''As long as I see folks working diligently and consistently, I am comfortable with moving a process forward that builds as much consensus as possible.''

The president has now pledged to push through the health reform package by the end of the year.

He said health reform was about more than finding a remedy for 47 million Americans with no insurance cover, and others who would lose their coverage if they became too sick or lost their job - because health costs were the biggest driving force behind the US federal deficit.