I don't see how I managed to miss 4 pages of posts on this subject started by Kathy P. Especially since she led off by taking apart an earlier post of mine. I'm not going to argue any more about statistics.
There is a fundamental problem with all health care systems no matter where they are. This problem will always lead to some form of rationing. The problem is this: care is expensive and people's desire for it continues to grow. Ultimate there isn't enough money to pay for all the care that everyone wants. Assuming that you keep the payments to doctors and hospitals equal in both situations, when this happens you have two basic choices: 1) limit who gets care 2)or limit what gets covered. Both are rationing.
In Europe and Canada, they choose solution 2, here we choose solution 1.
So European countries and Canada are struggling with hard choices about what is covered and what is not. In the US, we have millions with no insurance at all and more with crappy insurance.
For those folks who posted and said that don't want to pay for other people's care. Well don't kid yourself, you already pay for it, you just don't know. Likewise you're paying to treat smokers, whether you like it or not.
Here's how that works: When the guy with no insurance gets in a motorcycle wreck and he's in one of those states that says he can ride without a helmet, guess where they take him? Yep, the nearest emergency room. If it's Montana, chance are, he get a $10,000 helicopter ride from the scene. The ER saves his life, but he spends two weeks in the hospital and has several surgeries. Then it's on to a rehab hospital to recover from the head trauma. Now, the only possession the guy was his Harley, which is now totaled. He now has no job, no possessions and qualifies for charity care from the hospital. Charity care is great, but the money has to come from somewhere. Where?
If you're in business, you can probably guess. It comes from the customers who have insurance. Hospitals pad their rates for every X-ray, surgery, etc, to ensure that they have enough money to cover the poor and the people who refuse to pay.
So like it or not, you're already paying a hidden tax, and what's worse, at least to me, is that a lot of this hidden tax is eaten up supporting insurance companies.
The US Medicare system is a single payer system. Most people over 65 who are on it like it. It is much more efficient than the insurance industry spending far less on overhead than insurance companies.
The US has some of the best health care in the world. I work with doctors every day that I would trust my life with (and a couple I would not). But as a nation we're not getting our money's worth. I think we can do a lot better. If we took what we're spending right now as a nation and redirected it, I think we would have a much better system.
But I'm afraid our country has become a place where bold visionaries and risk takers aren't really wanted. We're too afraid of too many things (like dying from some two-bit terrorist) to set a bold agenda for our country. No terrorist act is worth dimming the torch of liberty for.