President Barack Obama on Saturday hailed progress by Congress toward approval of his health care reform, but blasted the health insurance industry for releasing a "bogus" report in an attempt to block his proposals.


"As I speak to you today, we are closer to reforming the health care system than we have ever been in history," Obama said in his weekly radio address.

The comments came after the Senate Finance Committee this past week approved a health reform proposal that was welcomed by the White House.

Obama noted that for the first time ever, all five committees in Congress responsible for health reform have now passed a version of health care reform legislation.

The president wants Congress to approve his health care reform proposals by the end of the year in order to fulfill one of his key campaign promises -- providing health care to the 47 million Americans, some 15 percent of the population, who currently do not have any medical coverage.

Obama has been advocating for a government insurance option as a key element of his plan, but his proposals have been fiercely criticized by Republicans.

The US president also hopes to cut in half runaway healthcare expenditures which, if unchecked, are forecast to gobble up one-fifth of US gross domestic product by 2013.

But he has met increasing resistance from both Republicans and even some among his own Democratic Party worried about the costs of such a reform.

In his address, Obama also commented on a recent report produced by the health insurance industry, which claimed that the reform would lead to significantly higher insurance premiums.

The president called these reports "bogus."

"The fact is, the insurance industry is making this last-ditch effort to stop reform even as costs continue to rise and our health care dollars continue to be poured into their profits, bonuses, and administrative costs that do nothing to make us healthy - that often actually go toward figuring out how to avoid covering people," he stated.

This video was published to YouTube by the White House on Oct. 17, 2009.

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With AFP.