Ironically, Barack Obama’s presidency has made me more interested in conservative ideas, not because he is some socialist, but because of his embrace of conservative ideas.
To understand why the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is a conservative plan, lets go over some quick history. Normally, the left vs right debate comes down to which institution fixes a particular problem, do we want the public sector (government) or the private sector (the market) to be the main tool to fix a problem? The left has traditionally favored government while the right favors the market.
What does the ACA attempt to do? (whether it achieves these things is big debate) The ACA attempts to provide virtually universal health coverage, ensure people cannot be dropped from coverage for pre-existing conditions, and reduce the amount of inflation for health coverage. Now, this is a huge bill and does far more for that, like mandate out of pocket maximums, but I believe those are the main points.
Private insurers are the main vehicle used to deliver coverage. Individuals are required to buy insurance, employers with over 50 employees are required to provide insurance and subsidies are given out based on income in order to buy insurance. In addition, health insurance exchanges are set up, state by state, in order to drive costs down.
These are conservative ideas. Market forces are brought to bear in order to fix huge problems. Like I said, it is ironic that Barack Obama has made me more receptive to conservative ideas. In order to become better thinkers I believe we need to focus on results, not ideology, and let that shape our opinions.