One interesting conclusion is that the success of the bailouts may have stalled the passage of significant health care reform. In 1929, the Hoover administration chose a libertarian tact and did nothing to mitigate the unrelenting pain from the Great Depression. This brought a dramatic political change and FDR came forth to bring about fundamental structural changes to social safety nets and federal regulation.
If the bailouts and stimulus package had not been passed this past year, we may would very likely have had more short term pain, but 2012 would have brought in a wave of more liberal lawmakers and a stronger political will for such things as single payer health care.
Bottom line: Pelosi, Reid and Obama saved the private health insurance companies.