By Scott Hensley
Any day now, the Senate will start debating a health overhaul bill, opening the next big chapter in the administration's push to remake the nation's health-care system.
Time hasn't been kind to the Democrats, though. Delays during the summer led to frothy town hall meetings and a general backlash against President Obama's plans. And despite the recent House passage of the Democrats' unified health bill, Americans remain "deeply divided" on health care, the Washington Post reports.
The latest Washington Post-ABC News national poll shows public opinion has hardened and remains "deeply divided" on the issue of health overhaul.
Some 49 percent of Americans disapprove of proposed changes to the health-care system compared with 47 percent who approve--nearly the same as the numbers from the middle of August. But dig a little deeper and the picture looks bleaker--30 percent strongly support overhaul compared with the 39 percent who strongly oppose it.
NPR's David Welna reports on Tuesday's All Things Considered about a shift in the language the administration is using to describe its plans for health, signaling lower expectations for change. Now there's more talk about "health insurance reform" and not so much about transforming the delivery system or reducing costs.
"Insurance reform is a much more accurate label," Paul Ginsburg of the Center for Studying Health System Change tells Welna. "So we can praise that for the accuracy of labeling, but lament the fact that there's a lot of health care reform that needs doing, and our insurance reform will get us only so far."
Finally, the man of the health-care moment is Douglas Elmendorf, head of the Congressional Budget Office. The Senate can't get started on its public discussion of a bill until Elmendorf's shop handicaps how much it would cost. The New York Times weighs in with a profile of Elmendorf, and we learned he wooed his wife at baseball game, "after calculating that games offer precisely enough activity to fill in conversation lulls."