Well! After we summarized some web chatter on universal coverage, John and Theora smacked one another on the US vs. European and government vs. private sector debates (scroll down to the comments).
While looking at other countries is provocative and useful for learning, it does not in itself form an argument for one mechanism over another. There is sufficient rationale for universal coverage independent of how the US may compare to other countries.
Both John and Theora trotted out some data to support their points and much of it was interesting. For example, John pointed to an OECD presentation here. Note, in particular, page 18 which shows health-adjusted life expectancy of 60 year old male and females in seven countries, including the US and UK. The life expectancies for the US and UK are practically identical. But John had already noted the higher costs in the US. If I understood his point correctly though, he was only referring to Medicare data which, since it would not include private and Medicaid expenditures, would understate the spending differences.
But none of the data were sufficient to convince me either way. The back and forth between the two of them did remind me of a related debate just a few months ago regarding the much improved quality of care in the VA system. That was used by some as an argument that a single government run system would be superior. And they were off and running there too.
Here was my response to the VA discussion: a pox on both your houses. That argument should apply here too.