President Barack Obama has been under fire for his proposed health care legislation, mainly the public option portion of the reformation strategy. While the president has stated since the beginning there is room for compromise, it may be safe to assume public option is out of the question.
While Obama is said to be making a speech as soon as next week addressing the the issue. Some House leaders say they will demand the inclusion of public insurance option, however, Obama has no plans to make implement the notion.
“We're entering a new season,” senior adviser David Axelrod said in a telephone interview. “It's time to synthesize and harmonize these strands and get this done. We're confident that we can do that. But obviously it is a different phase. We're going to approach it in a different way. The president is going to be very active."
Top officials say that in the last six weeks, the health care debate has taken a toll on Obama's poll ratings and consequently have made him quite unpopular as of late. What seems to be an uphill battle could be quelled, officials believe, by signing the bill into law and the war in Afghanistan seemingly successful.
Although Obama's decision to do away with a public insurance option will like anger his party's extreme liberals. Some Democratic officials would take an all or nothing approach to health care reform. Party division would be the ultimate result, but it would give Obama an opportunity to show he is willing to go against the grain within his own party.
“We have been saying all along that the most important part of this debate is not the public option, but rather ensuring choice and competition,” an aide said. “There are lots of different ways to get there.”
According to Politico, the timing, format, venue and content of Obama's presentation are still being debated in the West Wing. Aides have discussed whether to stick to broad principles, or to send specific legislative language to Capitol Hill. Some hybrid is likely, the officials said.
“I'm not going to put a date on any of this,” Axelrod said. “But I think it's fairly obvious that we're not in the second inning. We're not in the fourth inning. We're in the eighth or ninth inning here, and so there's not a lot of time to waste.”
The President's finesse was a huge part of his ascension to the White House, but now that he's there, COngress is less than wowed. Axelrod believes now is the time to aggressively assert himself and dictate his agenda to Congress.
"His goal is to create the best possible situation for consumers, create competition and choice," Axelrod said. "We want to bring a measure of security to people who have health insurance today. We want to help those who don't have coverage today, because they can't afford it, get insurance they can afford. And we want to do it in a way that reduces the overall cost of the system as a whole."
While Wall Street and the war in Afghanistan are essential issue President Obama faces, health care remains at the forefront of his fall agenda.
“I understand the governing wisdom here in town as to where this is right now,” Axelrod said. “I feel good about where it is right now. I understand that there's been a lot of controversy. I understand that there's been a lot of politics. But the truth is, we're a lot closer to achieving something than many thought possible.
People look to the president for leadership on this and other issues. He feels passionately about this, and you can look for him to provide that leadership.”
Obama has been slammed for bending to the pressure from Capitol Hill -- or, as Axelrod puts it, “allow Congress to consider the whole range of ideas.”
“History will judge whether this was right or it was wrong,” Axelrod said. “We feel strongly that it was right. As a result of it, we have broad consensus on over 80 percent of this stuff, and a lot of good ideas about how to achieve the other 20.
Now, people are looking to the president and the president is eager to help lead that process of harmonizing these different elements and completing this process so that we can solve what is a big problem in the lives of the American people, for our businesses and our economy.”
Fresh off vaction, the Democrats will return to the House a divided party. Many are unsure just how successful this venture will be, how long it will take and how it will help American citizens.
Axelrod said he isn't worried. “Part of it is born of long experience,” he said. “In Washington, every day is Election Day. I'd be lying to you if I told you I don't look at polls -- I do. But I've also learned that you have to keep your eye on the horizon here and not get bogged down. I am not Polyannish, but I am also not given to the hysteria that's endemic to this town.”