As an American, I've lived all my life with private health care and insurance (and very little interaction with public hospitals or health services). I truly believe that our current health care system and legislation in the states is a scam that serves to enrich insurance and pharmaceutical companies at the expense of patients and medical professionals. There are a lot of people in the states (like myself) who believe that universal, socialized health care is the right thing to do, but our exposure to it comes almost exclusively through media outlets. As a result, people succumb to all kinds of propaganda and misunderstandings as to the reality of socialized medicine and how best to execute it. I just got back from my first trip to Europe where I stayed in Ireland for a week. They have socialized health care, but our tour guide talked at length about how they have a shortage of nurses because of poor pay, hospitals and emergency rooms closing at 8PM, and hundreds of patients on gurneys (or trolleys, as they call them) for their stay instead of getting a proper bed. While that doesn't necessarily convince me that socialized medicine is an inherently bad idea, it highlights the fact that there are probably better and worse ways to implement it. I was hoping that perhaps some of our forum members who live with socialized health care could share some of their experiences and perceptions of what it's really like. I think this would at least help me to form a more educated opinion about the issue. So please, do share!