The largest government medical insurance program, Medicare, is threatening to nearly bankrupt the federal government with its rising costs that no one in 30 years has figured out how to manage, short of attempts at price controls (controls which are driving doctors out of the business). Treat with extreme skepticism mystery double-secret methodologies that the Obama administration promises will cut costs 30% when no such savings have ever been achieved in Medicare.
The largest government run medical care organization, the VA, apparently provides awful service and is rife with fraud and errors due to poor accountability.
So, despite 89% of Americans reporting themselves satisfied with their medical care (one of the highest approval ratings for ... anything I have seen out of a poll) we are going to replace our current system with one run by the government.
Postscript: You will often get quoted enormous numbers (often as high as 47 million) for the uninsured. This seems to be the driving force behind the felt need for health care change. But when someone quotes this number to you, ask for the number excluding a) college students; b) people who make over $50,000 a year who could presumably pay for their own coverage; c) illegal immigrants; d) people transitioning between jobs and e) people already eligible for Medicare/Medicaid but don't bother to sign up until they are actually sick. You will get a number a LOT lower, closer to 10-15 million.
If we need to do something more to help 10 million or so poor people, then lets help 10 million or so poor people. Let's not screw up what exists for the other 290 million or so people in this country. As I wrote before
But health care is different. The author above is probably correct that some crappy level of terribly run state health care will probably be an improvement for some of the poor. But what is different about many of the health care proposals on the table is that everyone, not just the poor will get this same crappy level of treatment. It would be like a public housing program where everyone's house is torn down and every single person must move into public housing. That is universal state-run health care. Ten percent of America gets pulled up, 90% of America gets pulled down, possibly way down.
Health care reform by hatchet, axe, and saw*.
Update: From Doug Ross
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a liberal non-profit frequently quoted by the media, puts the number of uninsured Americans who do not qualify for current government programs and make less than $50,000 a year between 13.9 million and 8.2 million. That is a much smaller figure than the media report and is also subject to "the 45% rule", wherein that percentage will transition to new jobs within a four-month time-frame.