Bryan, my point is from your post it gave me the impression MOST people are covered by health insurance from somewhere.
So why is the hospital rooms cost an issue?
My point is that even with MOST people covered by health insurance, SOME people are not. Generally it's the people who are in the worst position to afford out-of-pocket expenses: people with crappy jobs, and the unemployed who have just enough assets to not qualify for public aid.
The gentleman I spoke with is a bartender in a sports bar, in a small town in the mountains of British Columbia. His salary is $13,000 with no health insurance. He barely pays any taxes on income (you don't even have to pay income taxes if you make $12,000 or less). And he makes a lot of money in tips, which he doesn't report (like nearly everyone else who gets tips). But he's getting older, so he's thinking about buying health insurance out of his tip money.
The comments on this thread demonstrate another flaw: the service is very spotty, and focused on communities that are very large and very left-wing. In the nation's capital and in other large, socialist cities, you have a lot of doctors to choose from and you can have "your own doctor" for 40 years until he retires, as one FReeper reported. And the waiting list for an MRI might be only three weeks.
But if you're out there in a small town in Alberta or Saskatchewan, where nearly everyone votes Conservative, you get the M.D. who has been sent out to reluctantly practice medicine in your county. And the waiting list for an MRI might be three months, and require a two-day round trip to a hospital 500 miles away.