The general rule on this forum is no discussion of political issues. Having said that, I will present some information without opinion that may be useful. As I am a senior aide to a member of Congress,I have done considerable research on this issue.
When you talk about "health care reform" you are actually discussing a very wide ranging series of proposals. The core of the various bills currently before Congress is a public option, which would create a "medicare for all" system. According to the major research institution, the Lewin Group, this would have the effect of moving an estimated 118 million American policyholders from private to public insurance. The result would thus be a national health system similar to Canada's or Great Britain's. Congressman Frank of Massachusetts has admitted this, noting that the "public option" is actually a means to move rapidly to a universal national health system.
It is important to realize that nothing is free. In America our top marginal income tax rate is 35%; in Canada, it is 46%, and Canada also has a national value added tax (sales tax)of 5% which we do not have. Hence the top tax rate in Canada is effectively 16% higher than in the USA. Much of those tax revenues go to pay for their national helth system.
It has also been noted that wait timesfor appointments, tests and surgeries are much higher in countries with national health systems. The Fraser Institute (a Canadian research organization) reported that the average wait in Canada in 2007 from phone call to seeing a primary care physician was 18.3 weeks. Great Britain has similar delays in accessing medical care. In one case a heart patient who needed bypass surgery was told to go home and wait for official government approval. He died ayear later still waiting and his wife got a letter almost a year after his funeral informing her he had finally been authorized. (Google the name Brian Booey)
It has been said in defense of national health systems that the infant mortality rate in the US is actually higher than in some of these countries. However, that is an apples and oranges comparison, as many of those countries report infant deaths in the first 24hours as stillbirths; we do not.
A good measurement might be death rates from the more common cancers, as determined by research at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. The death rate from breast cancer in the UK is 88% higher than in the US. For colon cancer it is 40% higher. For prostate cancer, an amazing 604% higher. This is what you might expect in a system where there are long wait times and limited access to the primary early detection tests for these cancers (mammograms, PSA tests and colonoscopies.)IN fact, the percentages of residents in countries with national health systems who have undergone mamograms and colonoscopies is significantly lower than in the United States.
This is all information only and not presented as an argument one way or another. Hopefully it will help readers of this forum reach their own conclusions.