Groups pressure Obama to act on healthcare reform

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Four advocacy groups launched a $1 million advertising blitz on Tuesday urging President-elect Barack Obama to focus on healthcare reform during his first 100 days in office.

The Service Employees International Union, AARP, the Business Roundtable, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses sent a letter to Obama arguing their case. "Addressing skyrocketing health care costs is a critical component of stabilizing household, national and global economies," they wrote. One SEIU official commented that the groups will run this advertising effort as if it were a presidential campaign, and their candidate is healthcare reform, reports the Los Angeles Times.

In related news, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Pete Stark (D-CA) unveiled his panel's agenda for the coming year. One priority will be fixing the Medicare physician reimbursement system, the congressman said. Other key actions will be be passing SCHIP legislation, changing the Medicare prescription drug benefit, and cutting payments to Medicare Advantage plans.