Everyone is sick of talking about healthcare (pun intended, sorry), so I’ll make this brief. The following speaks to healthcare on a macro level and is not meant to take a position on the merits of the bill currently before Congress.
By law, hospitals must treat patients in emergency situations, even if the patient has no insurance or alternative means for covering the cost of care. A significant percentage of ER patients do not have insurance. This study, for example, places the number at 25%. This means the rest of the system, namely the insured, must absorb the cost of the uninsured i.e. pay higher premiums.
The solution is to 1) insure everyone, 2) refuse medical treatment to the uninsured.
(Keeping the current system is not an option. Medical costs are rapidly increasing – 3x since 1990, 8x since 1980 – and will continue to do so until some kind of reform is implemented. That point, at least, is well settled.)
Now, many believe option #2 is morally reprehensible, while others counter that option #1 is an unwarranted government intrusion into personal rights and privacy (personally I’d be more concerned about things like Sec. 203(b) of the Patriot Act, but that’s for another day).
Those who oppose universal healthcare have plenty of valid reasons for doing so. However, it’s important to acknowledge the cost of not implementing universal healthcare: no insurance = no care.