There were a bunch of polls lately dealing with health care reform. And the public is staggeringly in favor of it, even with caveats. 75% of people favor universal coverage, although that's slightly down from the peak in 1993, the last time health care reform failed. More interestingly 76% of people are in favor of a public option, even though 46% of people are concerned their employer might drop coverage if one existed, and 42% of people think it would limit access to doctors.
That said there's almost no chance it will happen, since it's far more important that reform be 'bipartisan' than effective. But why, considering Democrats control both houses of Congress by wide margins, and the presidency? The answer, for once, is not just because Harry Reid is a giant vagina in a suit. Although that is undoubtedly part of it.
The day Democrats took control of the Senate, everyone decided to pretend that filibustering every single measure was not just unobjectionable, but not even worthy of comment. So now you need 60 votes in the Senate. But that shouldn't be a problem since Democrats have 59, soon to be 60. You'd normally expect the more conservative Senators to vote against the measure, but vote for cloture (to break the filibuster). But recently the "moderates" have decided that voting no on cloture, in essence joining the Republicans to filibuster, isn't a problem. And neither Barack Obama nor the Senate leadership seem to think so either.
Worse, the HELP committee in the Senate submitted an incomplete proposal to the Congressional Budget Office, which is where bureaucrats carefully weigh bills and then pull a price tag out of their ass. This proposal, which in itself was a compromise between the current system and the more liberal single payer system, was expected to have a jawdroppingly high price tag of $1 trillion over 10 years. But instead it was scored at $1.6 trillion.
Now there's two ways to go here to get the price down. You can reform less, basically cover fewer currently uninsured people, or you can reform more, with a huge array of options Ezra Klein discusses here. Ron Wyden, for instance, has a universal coverage plan that actually lowers the deficit in four years according the the same CBO. But obviously, all the deficit hawks are incredibly opposed to it. So it looks like instead the Democrats will 'compromise' further, resulting in 'health care reform' that's both ridiculously expensive and covers fewer people. And despite all the compromises away from the left, no Republicans will vote for it.
Update: as I write this, apparently another version has been submitted, and as predicted this one covers far fewer people, and still costs a trillion dollars. It also has no public option, thus: "health care reform" to the Senate means "give a trillion dollars to insurance companies in exchange for covering a few currently uninsured people". Excuse me while I get my 'Mission Accomplished' banner out of the closet.