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Obama: "I believe we have the votes" for health care bill

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio - President Barack Obama pushed congressional Democrats Monday to vote for an overhaul of the U.S. medical system as he focused on the plight of Americans without health insurance.

In a speech, Obama made his case for passage this week of health care legislation by using the story of a woman whose insurance premiums became so expensive that she had to give up coverage.

Natoma Canfield was diagnosed with leukemia on March 13, and is now "racked with worry" about how she'll pay her medical bills, Obama said.

"When you hear people saying that this isn't the 'right time,' you think about what she's going through," Obama said of those opposing the health care revamp.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has signaled a vote may take place this week, said Monday she will have enough support when the legislation comes to the House floor.

Obama's fellow Democrats in Congress say they are poised to move forward with the biggest changes to U.S. health care since the creation of Medicare in 1965. Their plan would regulate rate increases in insurance, eliminate limits on covered care and require insurers to take everyone who applies for a policy.

Republicans are united in opposition, saying the legislation could crowd out private insurers, raise taxes and widen the federal budget deficit. Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, said that "as of this morning" supporters didn't yet have the votes.

But Obama echoed Pelosi's confidence, saying in an interview with ABC News, "I believe we are going to get the votes, we're going to make this happen."

Underscoring his personal lobbying campaign, Obama traveled Monday with Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who voted against the original House version of a health care bill. The legislation didn't call for the type of government-run health care system Kucinich supports. The president said he and Kucinich talked about the issue aboard Air Force One.

Pelosi probably must win over some lawmakers who opposed the original House bill, which passed by a five-vote margin in November, while overcoming concern about issues that include abortion funding.

"If she had 216 votes, this bill would be long gone," House Minority Leader John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said on CNN's "State of the Union" program.

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