Since social health care is such a big issue in the states now, I thought I would just weigh in with a few notes.
In Japan we have a form of social health care. We make our monthly payments out of our paycheck, and then when we go to the doctor’s office/hospital and get medicine, we only have to pay 30% of all costs. It would be nice if it was 100%, but it doesn’t work that way…
In the 6 years I have been here, I have gotten a few colds, a broken finger, some migraines, a sharp pain in my back once, and a sharp pain in my chest (ribs?) once. For an MRI, I think I paid around $150, compare that to the price of an MRI in the US ($400 to $3,000). XRays for my broken finger, sore back and chest were around $20 to $30 each I believe. Last week I had a cold, so it was $10 to see the doctor and $6 for a week’s worth of medicine. Plus I get a free complete physical once a year so I can keep track of my own health (I hear every year that I have low cholesterol, both good and bad so I should eat more white fish to get the good cholesterol up, and to lay off the sweets).
So as you can see, I can live without fear of having to pay medical bills as they are fairly cheap. And I’m sure the doctors like it as well, as you never see any poor doctors in Japan.