Why don't they want national health care?
For those people (especially the Brits) wondering why those silly Americans don't want a national health care systems, I can only speak for myself, but here's my take. I live in Massachusetts, the only state (that I'm aware of) which has mandated that all state residents must purchase health insurance if it's "affordable". They do not define "affordable". Instead, they ask you questions and then tell you if you can "afford" health insurance. If they feel you can afford it, you are forced to pay whatever the insurance company wants to charge you (the rates are not regulated). The last time I checked, the State determined that anybody earning $32,000 per year (about $16/hr) could "afford" health insurance.
Now, let's discuss finances. At $32000 per year, you'll pay approximately $8000 in taxes, leaving about $24000 for expenses. Rent will cost between $8400 and $18000 depending on where you live, leaving you with $6000 to $15600 for heat, electric, car payment, car insurance, car maintenance and gas/petrol, rental insurance, food, phone, cable, and Internet access. That, of course, assumes no entertainment and no savings. As a single person living on my own ($1000 rent, no car payment, and no cable), my expenses are about $24180 per year ($2015 per month) -- again, with no entertainment and no savings. The end result is that I have literally no money available for anything, but the State says I can "afford" health insurance, so I now have to pay a private insurance company $3024 per year ($252 per month). To add insult to injury, the insurance companies are constantly decreasing the prescriptions they cover (they won't cover a prescription if a similar product is available over-the-counter, even if the active ingredients and/or dosages are different). Let me take this time to point out that it's a federal crime to use medications in ways other than the directions state. So in order to get your prescription strength from an over-the-counter medication, you need to take twice the recommended dosage (or more), which is a federal crime.
One of the reasons I'm so against this is because the Massachusetts lawmakers forced this through by saying it would get more people off of MassHealth (the State-funded insurance for low-income people) while the actual text of the law explicitly states that MORE people will be on MassHealth (thus draining the State funds even quicker).
Another reason I'm against it is that people on the State-funded insurance get BETTER coverage than I get. Their co-payments are less, their cost for prescriptions is far less ($3 for a brand-name prescription, whereas I would be charged $50), and more services are offered on their health plan. So why am I paying $252 per month to get FEWER benefits than someone paying ZERO?
But the primary reason I'm against this is that I don't go to the doctor. I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to the doctor in the past 20 years. And yet, because the State wants to give the private insurance companies more money, I'm forced to pay them for receiving literally nothing. And yes, the law explicitly states that the purpose is to force people who would not normally buy insurance to contribute to the risk pool, thus easing the burden on the PRIVATE, FOR-PROFIT INSURANCE COMPANIES' finances.
Actually, that last part is what bothers me the most. The State is using a State law to force me to give my hard-earned money to a private, for-profit insurance company. If this was a State-run or even State-regulated program, it might be different, but it's not. The State merely tells me that I have to give my money to the insurance company, and the insurance company is allowed to do whatever the hell it wants, and to cover (and not cover) whatever the hell it wants.
And THIS is the program that Obama wants to structure a national health care system after. I'm not opposed to a system such as that of Canada or the UK. What I AM against is the government forcing me to give my money to a private, for-profit company without sufficient reason. Some people may compare it to auto insurance, but it's not the same. If I fail to purchase auto insurance and I hit someone, then I have injured them financially. If I fail to purchase health insurance and I get sick, then *I* am the only one injured. If we have a national health care system, it should be run or regulated by the government instead of by private, for-profit insurance companies who can (and do) constantly raise their rates without justification (a 20% year-on-year rate increase is not uncommon).