The current debate on health care reform is not actually about health care, but rather about health insurance. Health insurance companies do not provide health care, they facilitate the overcharges made by real health care providers. They are only the villains insofar as they are following the instructions of their policyholders, "Pay the providers whatever they want."
Prior to the widespread availability of major medical insurance coverage, doctors, drug companies, laboratories, hospitals, charged what an average patient could pay. In the "60's, it cost about three weeks pay for an average low level, clock punching worker to pay the doctor and hospital for the birth of a child. How many months pay would a comparable wage earner need to come up with today? I don't know exactly, but the existence of insurance facilitates the overcharge. Consumers look at a huge medical bill paid by insurance as our just reward for high premiums. It's not a reward, it's the reason for the high premiums.
The current direction being taken in Washington is fixing only the health care providers' desire to overcharge everyone in America. They are losing a chance to gouge forty million or so Americans, and we are going to fix that. We are going in exactly the wrong direction. Health insurance should be illegal. Providers should be forced to collect for their services on their own. The free market will fix the prices if we all actually have to pay them. Competition will work in our favor if we just get rid of insurance.