U.S. President Barack Obama is playing up the immediate benefits of a sweeping health-care reform bill, which has been criticized for the many provisions that will take years to be implemented.
In his weekly radio and Web address Saturday, the president highlighted the positives as he tries to usher the legislation through its final negotiations.
He and other Democrats hope to be able to have the bill signed into law before Mr. Obama delivers his annual State of the Union address, expected by early February.
President Obama is working with Democrats from the Senate and House of Representatives to merge their two versions of the reform plan.
Mr. Obama said once he signs the bill, the first year will see insurance companies required to provide free preventive coverage, the end of annual and lifetime caps for benefits, and protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
The Senate and the House versions of reform differ in several ways, including how it will be financed.
Opposition Senate Republicans say the health care bill will raise insurance costs for families and small businesses, and take money from the government's medical program for the elderly.
The president opened his address Saturday discussing the economy and jobs. He noted the loss of jobs in December, saying the road to recovery will be long "and sometimes bumpy."
Some information for this report was provided by AP.