* Obama confident Congress will pass healthcare overhaul
* Says not concerned about voting maneuvers in Congress
(Adds more comments from interview)
WASHINGTON, March 17 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he was confident Congress would pass his healthcare overhaul and was not worried about a possible plan by fellow Democrats in the House of Representatives to pass it without a direct vote.
“You’ve got a good package, in terms of substance. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or Senate. What I can tell you is that the vote that’s taken in the House will be a vote for healthcare reform,” Obama said in an excerpt of an interview to be shown on Fox News Channel’s Special Report with Bret Baier on Wednesday.
“And if people vote yes, whatever form that takes, that is going to be a vote for healthcare reform. And I don’t think we should pretend otherwise. And if they don’t, if they vote against it, then they’re going to be voting against healthcare reform and they’re going to be voting in favor of the status quo,” he said. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Take a Look on healthcare [ID:nHEALTH] ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Obama and House Democratic leaders have been lobbying undecided Democrats for support before a possible weekend vote on the healthcare revamp, Obama’s top domestic policy priority.
The president said he was confident the overhaul would pass and that he hoped the vote would take place this week.
“I’m confident it will pass. And the reason I’m confident that it’s going to pass is because it’s the right thing to do,” said Obama, who leaves on Sunday on a trip to Australia and Indonesia.
Party leaders are considering using a complicated process to avoid a direct vote on the Senate-passed bill, which is unpopular with House Democrats. Instead, they would declare the Senate bill passed once the House votes to approve changes it wants to the Senate’s version of the legislation.
The healthcare overhaul would constitute the biggest change in the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry in four decades.
Obama said the bill would be available to the public by the time the vote has taken place. “This notion that this has been not transparent, that people don’t know what’s in the bill, everybody knows what’s in the bill ... the final provisions are going to be posted for many days before this thing passes,” he said.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, editing by Eric Beech
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