Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration raised the stakes in the health care debate Monday, releasing a new blueprint that seeks to bridge the gap between measures passed by the Senate and House of Representatives last year.
If enacted, the president's sweeping compromise plan would constitute the biggest expansion of federal health care guarantees since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid more than four decades ago.
Among other things, it would close the Medicare prescription drug "doughnut hole," increase federal subsidies to help people buy insurance and give the federal government new authority to block excessive rate hikes by health insurance companies.
It increases the threshold - relative to the Senate bill - under which a tax on high-end health insurance plans would kick in.
President Obama's plan does not include a government-run public health insurance option, an idea strongly backed by liberal Democrats but fiercely opposed by both Republicans and key Democratic moderates.