Stone says that behind-the-scenes negotiations are ongoing. "Within the next two weeks, you're going to see a true compromise bill come out," he says. "Hopefully, it will be one that the leaders of both parties and the president can all say they can work with."
Others are betting on a successful compromise. Norman Ornstein, PhD, a political scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, tells WebMD, "The odds are better than 50-50 that we'll see something pass," he says, but adds, "these are still preliminary negotiations, and it's quite possible that you won't get any kind of a break until the fall."
Congress returns to work next Monday from its Fourth of July holiday. Lawmakers will work through the month, but depart again for the month of August before returning for a final month of legislating.
Ornstein notes, however, that Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore has chosen so far to focus his health care campaigning on a Medicare prescription drug benefit. "He's not making much of an effort on patient's rights," Ornstein tells WebMD. "That takes a bit of the public focus off of this, and may take some of the pressure away from doing things."