Does Obamacare Cover Too Much?

Douthat wonders:

[G]iven the White House’s obviously acute understanding of the political cost of rate increases and plan cancellations (otherwise why would they have said “if you like it, you can keep it” so many, many times?), I’m actually quite interested in why they didn’t consider compromising a bit more on comprehensiveness. I was an outsider to what was mostly just an intra-Democrat argument, but in my memory of the 2009-era debates, it doesn’t seem like the fate of catastrophic insurance ever really came up as a point of potential negotiation between the left and the center. Red state and moderate Democrats were focused on flashpoints like abortion, on pushing back against the possibility of a “public option” or a Medicare buy-in, and on, well, protecting their own state interests. But to the best of my recollection these “what counts as insurance”/”who should keep their plan” debates were never really on the political radar screen. (There were Republicans, like then-Senator Judd Gregg, who raised the possibility of some sort of compromise around catastrophic rather than comprehensive insurance, but there was little interest in that idea on either side of the aisle.)

So why weren’t they on the radar screen, given the entirely predictable political problems the new regulations have created?