Obama wanted health care reform to have a strong public option. It is a smart policy which would save money. Senator Grassley and the rest of Republicans threw a hissy fit screaming about a “government take over of health care.” Baucus gave Grassley what he wanted on the public option.
The Democrats wanted an employer mandate because it would be impossible to strengthen our current employer health care system while expanding coverage without one. Grassley again threw a hissy fit about an employer mandate and screamed about millions of people losing their jobs. Baucus gave Grassley what he wanted and embraced the dangerously stupid idea of a “free rider” provision instead.
Several Democrats and Republicans all support the very simple idea of helping older people pay for a living will if they want one. Some Republicans, including Grassley, began screaming “death panels” and about government plans to “pull the plug on grandma.” Only a few days later Baucus again gave in to Grassley's hissy fit.
What provision will be killed next by fear-mongering hissy fits: the individual mandate (the health care tax?), subsidies to buy insurance/expanding Medicaid (massive welfare expansion?), community ratings (fat people/smoker give away?), Co-ops (health insurance Fannie Mae?), minimum health insurance benefits (oppressive, heavy handed government regulation?), eliminating the huge Medicare Advantage give away to insurance companies (taking away Medicare from old people?), capping the deduction of expensive employer provided health insurance (massive new middle class tax hike?), etc...
I promise you that the optional help paying for living wills (“death panels”) will not be the last provision killed by some super crazy fear mongering. The Republicans will strip health care to nothing one issue at a time. This is why Democrats needed to fight for the public option. Once the Republicans found out that Obama would give in to their hissy fits, they started trying to kill the bill one provision at a time.