The WP fronts word that the bipartisan group of senators from the finance committee is making progress on health care negotiations. The senators will brief Obama on the progress of their talks. So far, the bill that would emerge from these discussions would come under $1 trillion, nix the government insurance option, tax generous health care benefits, and expand Medicaid, among other measures. It's still not clear whether they'll be able to reach a deal by the Sept. 15 deadline that the committee's chairman has set. But even if they don't, the Post says Democrats are already analyzing the compromises that have been made to see how they can unite members of their party behind certain measures that could win a few Republican votes.
The NYT takes a look at how it became crystal clear yesterday that the White House made a deal with the drug industry even as it has been insisting that lawmakers were writing legislation from scratch. After House lawmakers suggested they could extract more cost savings from drug companies, the administration was forced to come out and say that it had previously agreed it wouldn't ask the industry for more than $80 billion in savings in exchange for their support. It was an embarrassing admission that angered some Democratic lawmakers, particularly considering it came from an administration that has made a big deal of shunning lobbyists. But if the White House had failed to acknowledge the deal, it could have angered a powerful ally that is spending millions on an advertising campaign to support reforming the system.
Paula Abdul's decision to leave American Idol leads the LAT's Mary McNamara to ask, "What is a reliable train wreck actually worth?" Abdul first joined the show because of her singing career, "but what she actually brought to the show was, well, insanity." She tried to portray herself as the nice one, "but the role that worked best for her was the ditsy, possibly drunken sidekick." American Idol has been the vanguard in reality programming, and "Paula provided the first taste of what the citizenry now gorges itself on: live-action breakdowns." But apparently it was decided that her "reliable unreliability" wasn't worth "as much as the milquetoast stoicism of Ryan Seacrest."