I don't want to go on forever about this but it's a hot topic lately, and it pertains to feeling at home in Germany. I want to say that in terms of our health care/insurance here, I'm pretty happy. Reading this prompted me to say my piece. (broad brushstrokes here, mind you)
Health insurance in Germany is NOT socialized. Germans get upset with that term as they do not want to be a 'socialist' country. The German government also does not pay for citizen/resident health insurance, they just make it illegal for somebody not to have insurance of their own, through a privately run company. The government has also stated the minimum requirements of a health plan and how much it can cost based on a person's income. This guy's post talks a little bit more about how that works.
We're an exception to his statements in that Stefan is a government employee who's position allows us to qualify for the "privat" insurance even though we're not fantastically rich or self-employed. Privat sounds like "private", but it's a false friend for English speakers in that all insurance here is private, it's just that "privat" means you can get a whole lot more in one policy than the 'basic' government required plan (used lightly here b/c 'basic' actually covers a TON over here). A lot of people get the basic type of plan (give or take a few small things) and will get an additional extra policy to upgrade a few things. (Stefan's mother does this.)
Our privat insurance is such that the government pays 45% of almost all of our medical costs. We then get a policy to cover the remaining 55% plus the few small things the government doesn't cover. If and when we have kids, the government will cover a bit more and the insurance company a bit less. Again, this is only because my husband is a government employee. Otherwise it would all be covered under a private company's policy.
All things considered, the coverage I have right now is probably the best I have ever, or will ever, have. Absolutely everything is covered and we have no co-payments. If I had a rare disease and the only treatment available was in Timbuktu, my insurance would pay for that treatment and my transportation to and from Timbuktu. That's pretty nuts. We're also not paying a fortune for it.
I had a short hospital stay last year and - while clean, professional and friendly - it just wasn't what I was used to from my days in the US. There were no privacy curtains, it wasn't as modern looking as US hospitals I'd seen, the food all seemed like it came from a can, and it seemed like just anybody could walk in and out of the place. We were satisfied with the care and pleased with the demeanor of the staff, it was just different than I expected. This may not be the case of every German hospital, but it seems to be commonly accepted practice here. I suppose if this were to be true across Germany, a more no-frills approach to hospitals would make their bills lower.
I also know some presecriptions can be expensive and tricky to get approval for. That's a downside. It's also bad that when I walk into a doctor's office and tell them I'm a "privat" insured patient I can count on getting an appointment faster than if I weren't. Doctors can charge privat patients more, but the patient doesn't really care too much because their insurance pays all of it. There are fine points to all of this, but overall, it's not a perfect system, but it does work pretty doggone well.
So that's a short-ish version of my health care experience in Germany. As far as other experiences: when living in Denmark 18 years ago we saw doctors based on our address and it was covered by the government. We didn't really like the care we got there. Maybe it's different now? England: I've yet to meet an English resident who loved the NHS. I'm actually scared to live there if I only had the NHS to rely on for my health care. Canada: long lines, long waits, quotas, etc. I hate how ridiculous it is for my grandmother to get fast care without my aunt there to advocate for her. My uncle left Canada to practice plastic surgery in the States so he could function on his terms and not the government's. He actually only wants to do reconstructive work for injured and abused patients or those born with birth defects - he wasn't allowed to do JUST that in Canada thanks to quotas. Go figure.
I would like it if the US government would get involved in some way, even if it's just a start. Obviously no idea is perfect, but neither is ignoring a huge problem. I had nearly a year of no insurance in the States and it was scary. So many developed countries around the world have had the government step into the health care fray and either completely control it or just make regulations about it - I think there are plenty of examples to learn the pros and cons from and think to just do nothing is really stupid.
That's my two cents.