WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's budget outline for the 2010 fiscal year includes a 10-year, $634-billion reserve fund to help pay for his proposed healthcare reforms, a White House official said on Wednesday.
Half of the reserve would be paid for with new revenues and the other half would be funded by making the current system more efficient, for example by requiring competitive bidding in some areas of the Medicare program for the elderly
, said the official.
The 10-year reserve fund would help finance Obama's promised expansion of U.S. healthcare but would not fully cover the final expense of the reforms, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The president pledged during his campaign last year to work to extend healthcare insurance coverage to many of the 46 million Americans who do not have it.
Obama's final plans for healthcare reform have not yet been detailed. The official said the White House wanted to work out the ultimate plan with Congress.
In his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, the president said the budget plan due for release on Thursday would build on the healthcare reforms that were included in the $787 billion economic stimulus measure recently approved by Congress.
"This budget builds on these reforms," he said. "It includes an historic commitment to comprehensive healthcare reform -- a down payment on the principle that we must have quality, affordable healthcare for every American."
(Editing by Xavier Briand)