Forget What You've Heard: Health Reform Is Nearly Done

Obama has party, public, industry support, despite a few town halls
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2009 7:22 AM CDT
Protesters for and against President Barack Obama's health care reform proposals demonstrate outside a town hall meeting hosted by Howard Dean last month.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama goes into tonight's Congressional address amid talk that his health reform plan—and indeed his entire presidency—are nearly doomed. But the New York Times, in a front-page analysis piece, is far more optimistic, noting that August's town hall chaos did not substantially change public opinion, nor did it weaken Democrats' eagerness to pass a bill. What's more, the health care industry and White House are still negotiating, implying that they're not behind Republican legislators' opposition.

Four different Congressional committees have approved health care bills, each requiring Americans to have health insurance and providing coverage for those who can't pay. In the Senate, Obama seems to have a good chance of mustering 60 votes, thanks to Republican moderates such as Olympia Snowe and even George Voinovich. And while Obama's star has fallen somewhat, 60% of Americans still support a public option. However, the same percentage says Obama has been unclear about his health plans—a perception he'll try to rectify tonight.