Healthcare on agenda for Obama administration, Congress next month

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Healthcare, including a stimulus package with Medicaid funding, is expected to be a high priority for President-elect Barack Obama and Congress come January.

Obama recently reaffirmed his commitment to including funds for healthcare, including billions of dollars for Medicaid, in any new stimulus package that he and Congress pass. While Obama did not provide any solid details about the plan, some have estimated the new stimulus package could cost as much as $1.2 trillion, according to Newsday.

Meanwhile, Obama and future Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Daschle are calling on ordinary Americans to contribute their ideas for healthcare reform through citizen meetings and posts to the Obama site change.gov. Daschle plans to attend at least one citizen-sponsored meeting during the next few weeks to get a sense of the national mood toward healthcare.

In a sign that healthcare reform undoubtedly will be a priority, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) last week announced that he would leave his post at the Senate Judiciary Committee to focus the whole of his congressional efforts on healthcare reform. According to CQ HealthBeat, one Kennedy aide said healthcare will be priorities one, two and three for the senator.