Here's the difference between Canadian and US Health care (as a summary) before O-Care:
US had a slightly higher top end standard (in places like the Mayo Clinic) and you could get better health care if you were covered by a great program from a good HMO (but it often cost). Canada had better overall coverage as we didn't have so many uncovered men, women and children. The problem in the US was that, if you got sick then had to change jobs, your new HMO likely would want to write up your health issue as pre-existing and you wouldn't have coverage. A friend of mine's wife worked for the State of Louisiana and had this issue arise. I can change jobs here or have no job and I still have decent coverage (better with the add ons from work, but nobody asks about prior conditions because it might be illegal).
The issue with government health care O-Care style is this:
If you had a single payer with some privatized service delivery (we do this), that's pretty effective. It's not terribly inefficient necessarily either as my friend's wife mentioned above worked in resolving health care claims in Louisiana and the state government spent a very large % of its health care budget (shockingly so) chasing HMOs and arguing over who would pay for what. That system was hugely inefficient and wasteful plus it slowed down resolution. That whole monstrous expense disappears with single payer.
The issue the US is suffering from is you are trying to socialize and extend coverage but doing it by building on top of the existing corporate, flawed, corrupt HMO system and with things like kickbacks to doctors and clinics for pushing drugs and procedures and other things that wouldn't fly here. It's like trying to build a nice new luxury home on rotted pilings. The massive roll-out all at once was also a huge fustercluck. That's the worst way to deploy new solutions.
Instead, it would have made sense to say:
1) Identify a range of probable best-practices.
2) Cook up a ground-up rebuild of socialized single-payer medicine with privatized service delivery in places where it makes sense.
3) Deploy in a region (county/state) and run at least 1-2 years of pilot.
4) Take lessons learned, revise, repilot for 0.5 - 1 year.
5) Then begin national roll outs one state at a time.
Much less chaos, better chance to test what you deploy and see how it works. Probably cheaper. And a ground up design rather than a built-on-troubled-systems approach.
We don't know much up here in the eyes of some in the US, but we mostly get decent to good health care. Both of my parents are disabled. One had heart surgery, had a leg with open ulceration for about 8 years, then lost it when infection control was not possible. My other parent's car got hit by a 10 wheel dump truck making an illegal turn out of a local landfill. About 30 broken bones, 6 plates, 75 screws, other artifical parts just to get back to a fraction of her function and with a grim prognosis (although she's made 11 years now, things get worse day by day).
Those two sets of surgeries, both life threatening, plus follow on work and surgeries, plus rehab, plus dressings (surprising how much full leg sized silver impregnated dressings can cost... $100+ per dressing change, changes from 2 times per day to three times a week depending on which phase we were in). I'd guess that was over $500K, likely closer to $700K or more. And our socialized system handled a lot of it.
My parents were died in the wool conservatives (small c). Even they have been forced to admit the system has done a lot for them even though they used to be totally opposed to it.
We watched my cousin (who married a girl from Missouri) go through a rough time as his wife lost her son at 28 with a dual heart and lung transplant needed. He lived for about 6 weeks of his son's life. He was just married. The surgery was going to cost $1M. They didn't have it, he didn't have coverage, and even though the town pulled together and did fundraisers, my cousin and his wife are still dealing with the crushing debt that left them.
No, I'll take our system thanks. I just wish the folks in the US had one that ran as well (or even better, since ours is not perfect).