As a physician with English in-laws, I have had experience with both American health care and the National Health Service, which is being demonized in the current debate over health reform. These are my stories:
1) I have been sick twice while in England. Both times, I was able to see a G.P. that day at no cost, receiving good quality care, with appropriate referral to specialty care if needed. Total cost to me = zero.
2) Almost five years ago, my father-in-law, while visiting us in North Carolina, required hospitalization at UNC, which provided excellent care. However, since then my in-laws have not been able to visit us, since they cannot afford to buy health insurance coverage for their stay here.
3) In the last few years, both my father- and mother-in-law have needed to be hospitalized in England. They received reasonable care, which met decent American standards. Cost to them = zero.
In England, no one goes without the care they truly need and no one goes bankrupt because they get sick. We could use more of that here in the States.