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Obama calls for honest debate on health-care reform
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US President Barack Obama on Saturday debunked "phony claims" about health-care insurance reform, calling for "honest debate" across the country.

"This is an issue of vital concern to every American," said Obama Saturday in his weekly radio address, referring to the health-care insurance reform plan, which has been criticized by Republicans and even some Democrats.

Obama is committed to working with Congress to pass a comprehensive health reform by the end of this year in order to control rising health care costs, guarantee choice of doctor, and assure high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.

Health care services are very expensive in the United States, which is the only developed country that does not have a comprehensive health-care plan for its citizens. Some 46 million Americans currently have no any medical coverage.

In the weekly radio address, the president slammed "outrageous myths", which have been circulating on the Internet, television, radio and at town hall forums, about the health-care insurance reform as "phony claims meant to divide us."

Obama dismissed the claims that illegal immigrants will be covered, that abortions will be funded by taxpayer dollars, that so-called "death panels" will be formed to decide who receives treatment, and that reform will lead to a government takeover of health care.

"It also should be an honest debate, not one dominated by willful misrepresentations and outright distortions, spread by the very folks who would benefit the most by keeping things exactly as they are," said the president.

Obama called on all the Americans "rise above our differences, grasp each others' hand, and march forward as one nation and one people," despite there are always those who oppose it, and those who use fear to block change.

(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2009)

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