Obama's Next Steps on Health Reform

WHITE HOUSE PREPS FOR NEXT STAGE.... When it comes to health care reform, from the administration's perspective, July didn't go quite according to plan. August was a mess, though not entirely an unexpected one.


But as September gets underway, and lawmakers return from a hot, five-week recess, the White House is preparing for the next stage in the fight for reform.

President Obama is planning for "a new season" of more hands-on advocacy for his troubled domestic priority, an overhaul of the health care system, according to his advisers. Among the likely steps would be a nationally televised speech that close allies have urged, and a 10-year price tag for the overhaul below the $1 trillion mark.

Mr. Obama met on Tuesday with advisers including Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, and David Axelrod, a senior strategist, to prepare for Congress's return to work next week after a month in which many lawmakers have been spooked by contentious townhall meetings and polls registering slipping support for the president and his health care plans.

"We're obviously entering a new season here and this issue has been debated and discussed and chewed over at great length now," Mr. Axelrod said in an interview. "There are a lot of ideas on the table and now it's time to pull those strands together and finish the work."


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