Americans need not visit India for cheap health care: Obama

Washington: With spiraling health care cost a cause of concern in America, US President Barack Obama on Wednesday pushed for an affordable health care arguing that he would not like his countrymen to travel to countries like India and Mexico for cheaper treatment.

"My preference would be that you don`t have to travel to Mexico or India to get cheap health care. I`d like you to be able to get it right here in the United States of America that`s high quality," Obama said amidst applause at a community college in Virginia.

Obama was responding to a question from the audience on increasing health care cost in the US.

"Before we went on the path of you can go somewhere else to get your health care, let`s work to see if we can reduce the costs of health care here in the United States of America. That`s going to make a big difference," he said.

"And Medicare is a good place to start because Medicare is such a big purchaser that if we can start changing how the health care system works inside of Medicare, then the entire system changes. All the doctors, all the hospitals, they will all adapt to these best practices," Obama said.

"One of the things that we want to do as part of our health care reform package is let`s start doing a better job of negotiating better prices for prescription drugs here in the United States so that you don`t feel like you`re getting cheated because you`re paying 30 per cent more or 20 per cent more than prescription drugs in Canada or Mexico," he said.

Re-importation, he said, is a short-term solution that a lot of seniors are resorting to.

"But why should drugs that are invented here in the United States end up being more expensive than another country?" he asked.

"Well, the reason is, is because drug companies can get away with it here and they can`t get away with it there, and we should change some of those systems to make it cheaper for everybody here. But that`s going to make a huge difference in terms of reducing our deficit," he noted.