June 23, 2009
WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Monday hailed a deal with U.S. drug co through mpanies to cut prescription costs for the elderly, a move that could help him drive his ambitious healthcare reforms Congress.

"This is a significant breakthrough on the road to healthcare reform, one that will make the difference in the lives of many older Americans," Obama said at the White House of the agreement struck with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America industry association.

Reviving one of his best known slogans from the campaign trail, Obama took aim at naysayers on healthcare reform: "Yes, we can. We are going to get this done."

[...] Obama and his fellow Democrats in Congress hope to bring down the long-term costs of healthcare that recent data show are soaring out of control.

Part of that long-term picture is improving the health of Americans and toward that end, Obama on Monday signed into law a landmark bill that gives the U.S. government broad regulatory power for the first time over cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The drug deal, which offers $80 billion in prescription discounts over 10 years to help elderly Americans afford drugs, comes ahead of a week of discussions in Congress on how to pay for Obama's reforms and ensure coverage for the 46 million Americans who do not have health insurance.

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