Gallup checks out how Americans feel about the government's role in healthcare:
An important principle behind the current push for healthcare reform is that healthcare is a basic right that the government ought to guarantee for all Americans. Not only are the details of achieving universal coverage proving to be highly controversial, but it is unclear how strongly Americans support the premise. Americans tend to agree with the government's taking responsibility for guaranteeing healthcare coverage when asked in "yes or no" terms. However, they are more libertarian on the issue when asked whether the government or individual citizens should be primarily responsible for ensuring that coverage.
I dispute the premise. I don't believe an attempt to help more Americans to get their own health insurance implies that it is some kind of basic right that can be demanded of government. Some may believe that. I don't.
But I do see the pragmatic benefit of removing chronic insecurity that impedes labor mobility. I do see the pragmatic benefit of ending expensive emergency room care in favor of more preventive insurance and avoiding the free rider problem. I see the advantages of including everyone in an insurance scheme to spread risks more widely. I see the waste of resources when sick people become destitute for lack of insurance, when they could otherwise be healthy, productive members of society. And I do see the moral case that it is part of the American character to care for those rendered helpless by illness, and the moral cost of seeing them suffer for lack of adequate preparation.