Ramesh Ponnuru has a very good piece on the health care debate over at NRO titled “Obama’s False Whitness.” I thought this paragraph was extremely instructive, but read the whole thing:
I bring up these dystopian scenarios to suggest that when we talk about “free-market medicine” or “socialized medicine” we are talking about matters of degree. One could easily make the case that we have a more-than-half-socialized medical system already, given that governments pay for one of every two dollars spent on health care and exert a vast influence on how the other dollar is spent. But it cannot really be denied that the plans Obama supports would yield a still more socialized system. Even if Congress drops the public option, the bills before it would still radically change the business models of health insurers while forcing everyone to buy their products. The resulting insurance industry would be just as “private” as the defense industry is — which is to say that it would be a creature of the government. Socialized medicine is, in short, a fair characterization of the Democrats’ legislation.