Jonathan Bernstein interjects:
I strongly suspect that when the full history of the health care reform effort is written, it will turn out that the White House was highly involved, every step of the way. And, yes, it is the job of the Congress to legislate...but it's also the job of the president. As Richard Neustadt said, it isn't a government of separation of powers; it's a government of separated institutions sharing powers. The president absolutely has a role in legislating. What he can't do is dictate to the Congress. Again, I suppose at this point there's as much speculation as anything, but it sure looks to me as if Obama successfully found the "middle way" that Crook wanted. Of course, to understand that requires understanding that Congress is not something for the president to "guide and supervise." It's a co-equal branch, and it must be worked with, not supervised.
Earlier thoughts here.