People who report on The White House report that Obama is taking a more active role in lobbying Congress than he did for, say, the stimulus package, in terms of crafting the structure of the legislation. From my perspective, Obama hasn't really used the bully pulpit of the Presidency in terms of directing legislative progress -- we'll see if that changes when it comes to health care. I hope it does.
My basic thought is that we desperately need a public option, as it is the only way we can hope to curtail costs in the long run. The system as currently constituted does not provide the proper incentives for private insurers to actually deliver high quality, low-cost health care to the masses. Essentially the only objection I've heard about the public option is that private insurers won't be able to compete on a cost/quality basis. Um, fine, then they either improve or go out of business (I mean, that's the free market, right?).