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US Congress approves final healthcare changes

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US Congress approves final healthcare changes
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The US Congress has approved a package of final changes to President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare overhaul.

The House of Representatives put the finishing touches to the reform law by passing amendments making insurance more affordable, raising taxes on the wealthy and ensuring prescription drug coverage for the elderly.

The votes bring an end to a year-long battle that has dented Obama’s popularity and set the stage for a bitter campaign for control of Congress in November.

Obama mocked his Republican critics and said their promise to campaign on a platform of repealing the healthcare reforms would backfire and urged them to “go-ahead if they dare”.

The overhaul of the $2.5 trillion healthcare system is the most dramatic change in policy in four decades. It will extend coverage to an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans and bar insurance companies from refusing coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.