If you're looking for surprises in Team Obama's last-ditch proposal to restart health overhaul, you'll be disappointed. It's mostly a rewarmed version of the Senate bill, with a few tweaks.
In advance of Thursday's bipartisan summit on health care, the administration posted an 11-page overview of its thinking on what overhaul legislation should look like.
Some of the biggest changes are, as expected, a plan for the feds to scrutinize health insurers' rate hikes and to stop them (when they're unreasonable) and a rowback from the Medicaid deals that favored Louisiana and Nebraska. Now, the administration wants all states to get more Medicaid money to help cover an expansion of services.
What else is in there? Some sops for the GOP, including a bunch of measures to fight waste and fraud. You can see the rundown, starting on page five of the president's proposal.
But any goodwill won with those planks is likely to be undone by some of the others. Take, for instance, a squeeze on the rates paid by the feds for private Medicare plans, called Medicare Advantage.
The Obama proposal would take a stab at making insurance a little more affordable for many Americans by offering slightly greater tax credits than those in Senate bill in some brackets. But, generally speaking, they wouldn't be as generous as those passed by House Democrats.
The Cadillac tax on high-end health plans survives, but would be delayed five years until 2018. That's not a surprise. The threshold for the tax gets pushed even higher than under a deal the Democrats struck with angry trade unions in January and would be raised to $27,500 for families and $10,200 for individuals.
For another take on the proposal and what lies ahead, listen to this report from NPR's Scott Horsley.
Update: For a helpful comparison of the Obama proposal and the bills that passed the House and Senate, check out this post and chart from the Wonk Room.