Obama Stays Home to Finish Health Fight

The health care reform package will save $100 billion in its first decade, and $1 trillion in the decade after that, according to figures released by a leading Democratic hill figure on Thursday morning.
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) -- President Obama is again delaying his trip to the Pacific as the contentious health care bill makes its way towards a vote this Sunday.

President Obama was scheduled to visit Guam and other Pacific nations, however, given the magnitude of the health care battle, decided it would be better to circle around the Capitol Dome for a few more days.

Thursday has been a numbers-game day in the home stretch of President Obama's effort to enact health reform legislation.

U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said a final vote on the legislation could come by Sunday as Democrats attempt to line up the final votes.

Hoyer was among Democrats leading the charge with the just-released numbers from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) showing that health care reform would not just save $138 billion in its first ten years, but more than $1.2 trillion over the subsequent decade -- though the longer-term forecasts are viewed by many critics in Washington as having a healthy margin of error.

Republicans were quick to jump on health care reform price tag of $940 billion over the first 10 years, and the same CBO's data that the U.S. government has already racked up a $655 billion deficit through the first five months of 2010 -- which includes economic stimulus spending.

Leading Republicans linked the spending figure to the current weak state of the U.S. economy, and aimed to stoke fears that the government would be setting up future generations for a massive debt load.

Health care stocks were mixed in trading, but the big managed care and hospital stocks seemed to gain steam from the health care reform effort finally nearing the finish line.

Managed-care providers were, for the most part up, in trading, led by




Health Net



Trading in hospital stocks was also positive, with above average trading levels.

The health care sector as a whole was up marginally in late afternoon trading.

-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.

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