Ezra Klein is perhaps the medias foremost expert on the never ending, ever more perplexing health care reform process in America, so I defer to him on pretty much everything. Here he is on Obama's attempt to bridge the difference between the House and Senate Bill:
There's not a lot of policy news in the president's new health-care plan.
The changes are pretty much what we expected: more money going to
subsidies (which are now being referred to as "the largest middle class
tax cut for health care in history"), an excise tax that kicks in later
and affects fewer plans, a new Health Insurance Rate Authority to
oversee premium increases and reject them if they're unfair, the
elimination of the Nebraska deal, and so on. There's no public option,
nor any significant retrenchment. In fact, the cost of the bill has increased by $75 billion, the result of more generous subsidies.
But if the changes to the underlying policies are modest, the impact
on the politics will be tremendous. It might even be, as Olympic
announcer Ed Olcyzk said
about the Canada/U.S. hockey game, "tremendously tremendous." The
release of this plan marks the end of the Scott Brown election and the
resumption of the health-care process.
Of course, Obama's proposals in any other industrialized country would be a no brainer, but in the United States, the insurance industry wields so much power over government that very minor attempts to curb their power over people is viewed as a radical attempt to interfere with 'individual freedom'. This is of course a marketing trick by corporate lobbyists (and the GOP) to convince people that corporations should not be regulated and prevented from ripping their customers off. The logic goes something like this: Corporations are allowed to control every aspect of our lives, but government isn't, even if it is to protect us.
And that's freedom, Republican style.