Sorry, BHO, you're not FDR
I've seen some comments drawing parallels between the current "reform" and those by FDR and LBJ.
The authors of such comments like to support their point by citing some superficial resemblances between these reforms. For example, they point out that both FDR and LBJ made their social programs universal in scope, and mandatory for all citizens. And by that count, the logic goes, our current "yes we can" orator who has successfully lied his way to the top job, deserves to stand side by side with those two titans of the past, for making his healthcare proposals Napoleonic in scope and mandatory in implementation.
Alas, the actual facts have a strong anti-obama bias. There is no way the current prez is going to earn an affectionate appelation "BHO" for his reform becuase despite the apparent similarities, his reform is exactly the opposite of what FDR and LBJ have done. Whereas Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare were pushed through in order to guarantee some income to their recipients (the fact that FDR and LBJ were no philantropists and have okayed these reforms with a longer view toward boosting corporate profits as described by Keynes is a separate issue), obamacare is being imposed on us with the only goal of giving a boost to HMOs. Consumers are never going to see any benefits of this reform becuase, quite simply, the deal they are being offered is a very substandard deal that will force them to put more money into the system than they are going to receive from it.
If you really want to compare obamacare to Social Security, you must imagine that your mandatory FICA tax goes toward purchasing a lifetime annuity product from Berkshire or SunLife. And a Medicare comparison would be valid if LBJ had privatized Medicare, establishing HMOs as your only source of Medicare coverage. (As of this writing, the Evil Big Government is spending the average of $10,200 per year per average Medicare recipient, who is in her mid-70s. Now try shopping for a $10,200 primary policy with coverage for hospitalization, physician and nursing services and outpatient procedures for a 75-year old person on the free market. Good luck with that!)
So how should one describe this so-called reform while avoiding false parallels? The essence of obamacare is that government will guarantee HMO profit margins by decree. By fining the reluctant customers, it will force them to purchase a substandard product that does not offer any value for the money by any count. The rest is just technicality. We all understand that the political ritual has to be followed, so politicians from CBO must now make an honest effort to square the circle by looking for benefits to consumers in a healthcare plan that cannot offer any such benefits because of the way it was designed. They can shuffle and reshuffle numbers in their elusive search for "savings", but since the obama plan has just diverted into the pockets of HMO executives all 100% of these savings and them some extra, their search is going to run into unsolvable mathematical difficulties each time they try to produce a cent from an empty piggybank.
The bottom line is that the mandatory programs of FDR and LBJ are similar to the mandatory program of BHO in the same way as mandatory seatbelts are similar to a mandatory purchase of a 1992 Ford Escort priced as a 2009 Toyota Prius. If anything, the healthcare reform of BHO will be remembered the same way as the tax reform of GWB.