The plan conspicuously omits a government insurance plan sought by liberals and viewed as a non-starter by conservatives and some congressional moderates. It includes Senate-passed restrictions on federal funding for abortion adamantly opposed by abortion foes as well as abortion rights supporters. The new White House plan would give the federal government the power to regulate the health insurance industry much like a public utility. The Health and Human Services Department — in conjunction with state authorities — would be able to deny egregious premium increases, limit them or demand rebates for consumers.
In the face of monopoly power, standard economics tells us that price controls could actually increase output moving the market closer to what would have prevailed under competition. Conservative politicians, however, often scream about scarcity when liberals propose such ideas. One would think the conservatives would prefer more competition but as I seem to recall, they hated that public option idea that was all the rage in 2009.