Well I come from Quebec, where they have socialized healthcare. I worked as an RN there for almost 3 years, and hated the way things are run. When you don't pay out of pocket for anything, you don't know how much things cost, and you abuse the system. To ER nurses out there: Who abuses the ER more? Who tends to go in for broken nails and the sniffles? Is it the private pay, those with poor coverage from their insurance providers, or those covered by Medicare/Medicaid? Of course, I realize that there is no catch/all. Not everyone on Medicare/Medicaid abuses. But it is more likely that there will be useless visits or hospital stays if you have to cover some of the cost. You have more incentive to do things that will make your health better, to try every other thing before rushing to the hospital.
And yes, I realize that some people don't go even when they need to, because they can't afford it. My fiance is currently one of those, and I have been working on getting him to go get checked out for a while for a recurring pain we can't explain. I would rather make payment arrangements with a hospital to get him the care required than deal with having to pay funeral expenses.
And it drives me nuts when people think that it will cost them less for healthcare this way. Where do people think the money will come from for all this? Maybe taxes won't go up right away, especially not before elections. That would probably be the nail in the coffin of the Obama campaign. But they will have to go up eventually, probably sooner rather than later. After all, if Obama gets re-elected, what does he have to lose by doing things that would be unpopular with the general masses? Its not like he has to be careful to stay in power. In Quebec, just federal and provincial income taxes add up to around 45% of salary.
Now as far as nursing in this environment. When the hospital and doctors/clinics make less money, they can afford to do less. Doctors will either leave the country, or will limit treatments and all. Why do you think most clinics will only take so many Medicare/Medicaid patients? Because they already barely make pennies on the dollar of profits for those patients. So with less profits, you get less staffing, less functioning equipment, less pay increases. Forget those beautiful renovations. Those fancy gadgets, computers, palm pilots? A thing of the past when there is no longer money to pay for them.
Insurance costs for the general masses will also most likely increase if insurance providers can no longer refuse people with pre-existing conditions. Their purpose is to make a profit. If they have to pay out more for people who are frequently hospitalized, then the prices for everyone will have to go up.
Anyways, I know a lot of people don't agree with me about this. This is just what I have seen from living in a country with socialized healthcare. I understand that Quebec specifically has a bad reputation for corruption. And I hope that it works out better here than there. But honestly, if I start to see those tell-tale signs I witnessed back home, I might just have to look into nursing in the UK or something....