Jonathan the Other had a good post on the Treatment yesterday explaining how important it is that the House-Senate compromise give some ground toward the House's more generous subsidies for low-income workers. Today we see that the Obama administration is intervening to push for exactly that outcome:
The White House supports an effort to tweak the health bill so it makes insurance more affordable for the lowest earners. But the change would drive up the cost of the overhaul, an area where lawmakers have little room to maneuver. ...
Adding subsidies threatens to drive the cost of the bill past the ceiling of $900 billion over a decade that Mr. Obama set last year. The more generous subsidies in the House bill cost $602 billion over a decade, while the subsidies in the Senate bill cost $436 billion during that period.
"The further you push towards the House approach, the more expensive the legislation is," said Drew Altman, president of the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. "Clearly the financing is an issue."
A White House official said Wednesday that the president would support the House effort to make subsidies more generous, though the official didn't give details.
Also, it's been previously reported that the White House is pushing hard for a tax on expensive insurance plans, to the delight of health care policy wonks. Basically, where the House and Senate disagree, the administration is intervening on the correct side. That's what you'd expect, given that Congress has to answer to parochial interests and the president gets to consider the broader national interest. But it's also worth keeping in mind given the various expressions of disappointment, both from the left and center, about the bill's shortcomings. To the extent the bill isn't better -- and I think it's going to be pretty fantastic by any fair comparison -- the blame lies with the nature of Congress, not the administration's priorities.