WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama welcomed the U.S. Senate health committee’s approval of a proposal on Wednesday to overhaul healthcare, saying it would ensure fair treatment for patients by insurance companies.
“(The committee) has produced a proposal that will finally lower health care costs, provide better care for patients, and ensure fair treatment of consumers by the insurance industry,” Obama said in a statement.
“No longer will insurance companies be able to deny coverage based on a pre-existing medical condition. No longer will Americans have to worry about their health insurance if they lose their job, change their job, or open a new business,” he said.
Healthcare reform has many more hurdles to clear. The Senate panel is the first of five congressional committees to complete work on its version of a major overhaul for the industry, which comprises one-sixth of the U.S. economy. The legislation must be passed by the Senate and reconciled with a House of Representatives proposal before it goes to the White House.
Obama, for whom healthcare is a signature policy issue, plans to give a statement Wednesday from the White House about the progress that has been made so far.
Reporting by Jeff Mason