[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/16/art.hc.gi.jpg caption="Obama met with Senate Democrats Tuesday to discuss the health care bill."]Washington (CNN) - A new national poll suggests that Americans think the health care reform proposals moving through Congress would bring higher costs and a lower quality of care.
According to a ABC News/Washington Post survey released Tuesday evening, 53 percent of the public see higher costs for themselves if the proposed changes become law than if the current health care system stays the same. The poll also indicates that only 37 percent say the quality of their health care would be better under the proposed changes.
The nearly one in five adults in the country that are currently without insurance are among those who presumably would gain the most from health care reform than includes an expansion of those covered. But the survey indicatates that those without insurance are divided on whether their health care would be better if the current system was reformed.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation nation survey released last week had similar findings, with 75 percent of people questioned saying the senate health care bill would not help their family. The poll also indicated that 85 percent of Americans think the bill, if it became law, would increase their taxes and nearly 8 in 10 say it would increase the country's budget deficit.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/16/art.wh.gi.jpg caption=" Georgia couple arrived at the White House on the wrong day for a tour recently and got much more than they bargained for."]Hogansville, Georgia (CNN) - A Georgia couple arrived at the White House on the wrong day for a tour recently and got much more than they bargained for.
After being screened by the Secret Service, Harvey and Paula Darden of Hogansville, Georgia, were led into a lavish invitation-only breakfast where they met the president and the first lady.
How the couple was able to get into the White House event without being on the guest list was called "dumb luck" by the Dardens. The White House is calling it a "nice gesture" and has been explaining how this incident is nothing like the breach of security that took place when Tareq and Michaele Salahi infamously crashed the Obamas' state dinner.
The Dardens got into the White House on Veterans Day, weeks before the Salahis' infamous party crashing. The couple mistakenly arrived a day early for a tour that was booked by their congressman.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/21/art.twitter.cnn.jpg caption="In 2009 it seemed all of Washington was buzzing about Twitter, but were people on Twitter buzzing about Washington?"]Washington (CNN) – Among all the hype this year in Washington about Twitter, the top conversations occurring on the popular social networking Web site during 2009 were anything but political.
Looking back on the year that Twitter became mainstream, Twitter's Chief Scientist Abdur Chowdhury wrote on Twitter's blog, "Trending Topics helped us understand what was happening around the world showing us that people everywhere can be united in concern around important events; excited about a new movie; or geek-out about a major new technology."
The most noticeable Washington-based story users tweeted about was South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie!" outburst during President Obama's address to Congress in September. In the category of "people" most tweeted about, Wilson was seventh, beating out Tiger Woods, Christian Bale and A-Rod. Michael Jackson was most tweeted about person in 2009, followed by surprise singing sensations Susan Boyle and Adam Lambert.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/09/art.obamaspeech.gi.jpg caption="President Barack Obama wrote a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il."]Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama wrote a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il that a U.S. envoy delivered, a senior U.S. official said.
Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special envoy for North Korea, delivered the letter to the North Korean leader during a three-day visit to North Korea last week, the official said.
The official declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/16/art.weiner.gi.jpg caption="Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner is frustrated with the course health care reform legislation in the Senate is taking."]Washington (CNN) - Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner is frustrated with the course health care reform legislation in the Senate is taking, telling CNN the "bill has certainly gotten worse."
But the liberal lawmaker from New York, on CNN's American Morning Wednesday, said "I'm not prepared to say that we should throw out the whole process."
There have been increasing complaints from many on the left in recent days, as what they consider key elements of President Barack Obama's health care reform plan – including a public health insurance option and a compromise proposal that would allow individuals to buy in to the government run Medicare system at age 55 – have apparently been jettisoned to win the support of conservative Democrats, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, who's part of the Democrats' 60 seat coalition in the Senate, and moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe. Some have said the bill has been so watered-down, it may be time to abandon it entirely.
"Every time conservatives or those that are concerned about costs step forward and say they have a problem, they take out something that helps reduce costs. You know, the public option was something that increased competition for private insurance companies and drove down costs; they took it out. Expanding Medicare to allow people not just 65 but 64, 55, the most expensive group to insure get covered under Medicare, now that's been dropped out," adds Weiner. "You know what's puzzling about all this is the very same people who say they're concerned about cost are the ones responsible for stripping out cost savings measures, so it really is a frustrating process to watch going on in the Senate."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/16/art.bernanke.jpg caption="Bernanke has been named Time's Person of the Year."](CNN) - Time magazine announced Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as its 2009 "Person of the Year" Wednesday.
Bernanke will be featured on the cover of the magazine that hits stores Friday.
He beat out Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, President Barack Obama, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, among other finalists.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/15/art.arnold1215.gi.jpg caption=" California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is questioning the motives of a felllow Republican, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin."]
(CNN) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – who has backed strict new emissions controls to combat climate change – made a comment Tuesday that's sure to raise some heat, especially in GOP circles.
The Republican governor of California is questioning the motives of a high-profile opponent of the idea: Sarah Palin.
The former Republican vice presidential nominee and former Alaska governor has questioned whether human activity contributes to climate change, and written op-eds blasting the cap and trade policy promoted by the Obama administration to limit emissions. Last week, she called on President Obama to boycott the Copenhagen conference.
"You have to ask: what was she trying to accomplish?" Schwarzenegger, in Copenhagen for the international climate change summit, told the Financial Times. "Is she really interested in this subject or is she interested in her career and in winning the (Republican presidential) nomination? You have to take all these things with a grain of salt."
Palin, dubbed a climate change "denier" by Al Gore, slammed the former vice president for promoting "doomsday scenarios": "Climate change is like gravity – a naturally occurring phenomenon that existed long before, and will exist long after, any governmental attempts to affect it," she wrote in a Facebook post last week.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
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