I'm a Canadian with intimate knowledge of the health care systems in Asia, Canada, USA, Mexico, Europe and Africa. I find the current level of "debate" as seen on CNN, Fox and most US networks to be little better than ill-informed fear mongering. The US has some excellent teaching hospitals and great care providers, but it is not a coherent system. As a result, US citizens pay the highest per capita health care costs in the G8, while under-performing the other developed nations on every measure of health outcomes; like life expectancy, infant mortality, and maternal mortality, to name a few. Please, don't take my word for it (or the word of a pompous, fat talk radio host, for that matter). Google the CDC or WHO databases, and decide for yourselves.
Health care costs are rising at a rate much faster than inflation (driven by rising capabilities, increased demand, and yes, lawyers) while most other goods and services are deflating. This clearly shows that the unseen hand of the market has failed, when it is held by a de facto insurance monopoly.
It amazes me, as an outside observer, that a republican heavy congress (at the time) would bail-out an incompetent insurance giant (AIG) and now want to convince Americans that they can't have single payer, government financed universal health care like my family and I enjoy. I can't believe anyone is buying that crap.
Don't get me wrong, on most issues I'm a diehard capitalist, but the numbers don't lie. Health insurance companies exist to make a buck off the patient and in doing so increase the percentage of GDP spent on administration and add almost no value to health services delivery. I think Obama knows this and was honestly elected (handily) on this platform. I wish him and the American people well in tackling this complex issue. It is sad that vested interests are tricking so many gullible people, without much knowledge of the world, with scare tactics that aren't much better than lies.