I'd like to add that while public healthcare would be expensive, at the moment our healthcare costs more (and covers less people) than other nations with public healthcare. It's something I've heard quoted a lot, here's one article that mentions this fact: http://www.kentucky.com/216/story/723248.html
. It's probably worth noting too that Canadian taxes aren't particularly higher than in the US, in fact they're frequently lower (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html
) so it would be a mistake to connect public health care absolutely with higher taxes.
Too, to the idea that people will use it more if it's free, I've found from living in Canada that people tend to go more the other way, feel bad about using it and not go often enough (it's a problem here with people waiting too long to see a physician out of guilt).
No country has found the ideal system for health care, but I don't see why the fact that other countries aren't perfect = the idea that our system is just as good - they may not be ideal, but they're on the right track at least. I think it's funny how "socialist" is such a bogeyman term, some systems should be socialized, the fiercely independent get-rich American dream mentality need not be applied across the board (I might argue it shouldn't be applied at all, but that's another discussion)