[update: I have republished this post taking out my original claim that "reform" is an "anti-concept" which a reader pointed out is technically incorrect. See the comments section for more discussion and thanks to the commenter for pointing this out.]
Every day, we hear the term "reform" used to describe various political proposals. For example, Obama calls his plan to fully nationalize health care, "health care reform", which you can read about at http://www.healthreform.gov/. In fact, a recently released talking points memo from the executive director of the Democratic National Committee refers to opponents of socialized medicine as an "anti-reform mob".
So, what is reform? According to http://www.onelook.com/, reform means "change for the better as a result of correcting abuses". Although the term “reform” refers to "change for the better”, it leaves open ended the question of how something is to be made better as well as any standard of what constitutes "better". Therefore, to implement "reform" requires an objective standard of "better” which requires an objective standard of the good. When proponents of socialized medicine refer to their plan as "reform", they are blurring the meaning of the word by equating the notion of "change for the better" with their false view of what constitutes better. In other words, usage of the concept in this way implies that the abrogation of individual rights, and the chaos and tyranny of socialized medicine is necessarily better.
In this case, the meaning of the term "reform" is change for the better, but it actually means government intervention in the economy and the violation of individual rights. Usage of the term in this way replaces the discussion of both the means and the goal of reform with the claim that more government intervention in the economy is necessarily good.
The Left has used the term in this way for decades. Communist gulags and political prison camps all over the world were and are designed with the explicit purpose of “reforming” anyone critical of the ruling regime. Today, the Democrats are using this term to confuse the public as to the nature of their plan and to viciously smear its opponents as "anti-reform" if they oppose them. After all, if you are "anti-reform", you must be anti-moral, i.e., evil.
Any objective standard of better health care would include the idea of the best quality health care at the least possible price. As logic and evidence demonstrate unequivocally, such an outcome can only result from a fully free market built upon the moral and political foundation of individual rights, i.e., the recognition of the rights of doctors, insurance companies, and patients to voluntarily contract for services on terms deemed mutually beneficial to all parties. In fact, the cause of the so-called health care crisis is precisely government intervention in the health care market. True reform would consist of dismantling government regulations, mandates, price controls, and taxes of doctors, hospitals, employers, employees, and insurance companies and thereby, fully restoring a competitive and vibrant marketplace.
Obama only claims that he will reform health care but never actually defines what he means by "better". His pragmatism obviates the need for any explicit definition of his intentions, but his implicit goal, consistent with his default philosophy of liberation theology, is the non-objective concept of "social justice" which means egalitarianism which means equal outcomes regardless of effort, ability, or character.
Obama's plan to increase government regulation will result in deteriorating quality, waiting lines, higher costs, and misery, but his goal is the sacrifice of the productive to the non-productive to achieve equally miserable subjects in accordance with his ethic of self-sacrifice and self-abnegation. Usage of the concept "reform" enables him to convey the impression that he is pursuing the objective virtues of morality, justice, and productivity while actually pursuing the vicious, non-objective, unjust goal of egalitarianism, i.e., the sacrifice of the doctors and the producers of wealth upon the altar of "need".
Do not let the Left get away with this smear. A more appropriate and logically accurate term for his plan would simply be socialized medicine or "health care tyranny". Somehow, I do not think we will be seeing websites with those names.