In Australia, we have a very strong sense of fairness which recognises that sometimes bad things happen to people through no fault of their own. Because of this universal, free emergency care is enormously popular and never likely to be seriously challenged. We see the socialisation of these health costs as a civic obligation.
Well, you may not be aware that we have the same program here, albeit in a different scheme. Nobody is turned away from the emergency room in the US. Obviously, if you have insurance, your insurer gets billed, but if not, the government covers the cost to the ER.
Indeed, we have recently commenced rollout of a scheme to socialise the costs of care for permanent and serious disabilities (NDIS). As it happens, I think we are buggering up the implementation of this pretty badly but the principle has had minimal opposition among the population.
In the US, this is usually handled at the state level with some federal support. So, the quality of care will vary from state to state. I;m sure what you have in mind is more encompassing than what we do, but the principle still is there.
For better or worse, USA citizens seem more likely to believe they are in control of their destiny and therefore, are less sympathetic to others in a bad position. The individualism and exceptionalism of USA culture becomes a blocker, and perhaps an intractable one.
I don’t think that in the minds of most Americans, “control of your destiny” is locked to “less sympathetic”. Americans generally come in first in measures of per capita individual charity:
These are the world's most generous countries
America has been named as the world's most generous nation in the world, where its citizens give the most to charity…
This is generally viewed as a function of our religious heritage, where acts of charity are considered to be mandatory for one’s spiritual condition. THAT SAID, what Americans are very suspicious of is the government’s ability to act as the clearinghouse for charitable money through taxation; they’d rather give it to independent agencies they trust rather than meet social needs through higher taxes.
I suppose my point is that the financial costs are largely besides the point. For so long as the outcome is one that isn’t broadly valued by the population, universal health care is never likely to fly.
Well, I think we’re on the step of having universal health care. It’s just going to look more like Singapore’s scheme rather than yours.