"If the government requires insurers to accept all customers and charge all the same price, regulates all aspects of their marketing to make sure they aren't discriminating, and then redistributes the profits to make sure that no company gets penalized unfairly, in what sense is the industry still 'private'?"Exactly so. What neither points out, though I will, is that this is the exact prototype of Fascism (in this case, in health care insurance). Yet, there are noisy Democratic Congress critters decrying comparisons to Nazis.
Forget the imagery of Brown Shirts or Black Shirts (they'll likely be Green or Red this time around anyway). Forget the violence of 1920s Italy or 1930s Germany (the Black Panthers and the SEIU are taking care of that this time around in America). Forget all the symbols, the wacky views about vegetarian living (promulgated by Himmler and Hitler both), and so forth. None of that is essential.
What counts is whether there is nominal private ownership (which includes the right of use and disposal according to one's own choices, not the government rulers) but de facto total control. That is the essence of Fascism and what is being proposed -- and has been accomplished already to a frightening degree in large swaths of the auto manufacturing and financial businesses, and medical care and insurance, too -- is exactly that.
Leftists can get as angry as they want at calling a