As an American now living in Germany, I am happy to see America move forward with health care reform. I do not believe that Pres. Obama's package is perfect by any means, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. I have lived here in Germany for 2.5 years now. I pay into the German health and retirement system and I have nothing but good things to say about how it works. While I have not been to the doctor since moving here, my wife as well as her parents have been several times and the care is at the least as good as what you get in America and much better in some respects. And, the cost of health care is lower to the individual, whether working for a company, or more relevant to Jeff's post, those that are self-employed. I am self-employed, and I pay the same amount that any other person pays. Here in Germany, we can choose which private company we buy our insurance from. We do not depend on the government for our medical insurance as a lot of people think. We can choose our doctors, dentists etc., and there are not waiting lists or anything for treatment. At least not here in southern Baden-Württemberg. One real positive of our system here is that medicine is amazingly cheap compared to the prices in the USA. The cost of doctor's visits are much lower too.
Before moving here, I was 100% against the thought of such a health-care system, but now, I am a big fan.
But, in the end, the result of the health-care plan depends on the competence of the government running it. The U.S. Congress (Republicans as well as Democratic members) has a less than stellar record on competently managing anything. I think that is what has most people nervous and afraid. Maybe they can get a clue and get it right for a change.