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Will Obama's healthcare plan reduce costs?

Congress and ordinary Americans debate whether Obama's healthcare plan will reduce costs or increase them.

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On Wednesday. President Barack Obama delivered a speech urging Congress to pass his healthcare plan. The president said the proposed reform would reduce costs for millions of Americans.

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As President Obama tries this week to put his healthcare plan on a fast track toward passage, he's still struggling to persuade Americans that the plan will reduce costs.

"My proposal would bring down the cost of healthcare for millions – families, businesses, and the federal government," Mr. Obama said Wednesday in making his pitch. "Let's get it done."

But after a year in which Democrats have been debating and refining reform plans, sometimes with Republican input, the cost savings that Obama touts remain a matter of sharp debate.

While the president says that his numbers add up to real progress against runaway medical costs, his Republican critics bluntly say the opposite.

"This bill adds a new healthcare entitlement when we have no idea how to pay for the entitlements we already have," Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin said at a healthcare summit Obama convened last week.

Who's right? Before diving into some of the numbers, it's worth noting that American voters appear to have concluded that costs are a very big concern. Most Americans like the core Democratic ideas, but a majority also worries that the reforms won't tame fast-rising costs.

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