Donald Lambro

More than six in 10 Americans 65 or older said they expect a much weaker Medicare program as a result of the cost-cutting that will be made under the new health-care system.

"Overall, seniors tilt heavily against the changes, with 58 percent opposed and strong opponents outnumbering strong supporters by a 2-to-1 ratio," the Post's poll reported.

Give these seniors some credit. They may be older than the rest of us, but they know you can't slash half a trillion dollars out of Medicare without cutting doctors, hospital services and benefits to the bone.

So no matter how many speeches Obama makes at political rallies, no matter how many times he promises that health-care costs will decline, the deficit will shrink, no one's medical care will change, and not a single existing benefit will be reduced, most Americans just aren't buying it.

While the news media have unduly focused on voter anger throughout this debate, this has really been a battle between two opposing views on the role of government in our society. And when the legislative debate was over and the smoke cleared, the chief complaint about Obama's plan had not changed a bit: "About half of all poll respondents said the plan creates 'too much government involvement.'"

Now the battle over health care moves into the political arena, where it will be fought out over the next seven months in the midterm elections.

But these elections will not only decide who controls the House and Senate next year, they could decide whether Obama's health-care plan remains the law of the land or is repealed and replaced by, well, a smaller, more targeted, less expensive, sustainable, market-oriented system.

A lot of Democrats who voted for this bill could lose their seats in the House and Senate, especially in states where opposition is much stronger than the national figures show.

In Indiana, for example, where a Democratic Senate seat will likely fall into the Republican column, just 37 percent of voters favor Obama's plan, while 60 percent oppose it.

The favor may lie with the Republicans this election year when the American people will finally get to have a final up or down vote of their own.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.