You could argue that US medicine is socialized, although through the back door. There is of course medicare and medicaid, but there is also obscenely expensive emergency room care, which helps defray the cost of treating those who can’t pay. Insurance companies get smart and started pushing their clients to go to urgent care clinics (which are essentially doctor’s offices with extended hours), which skews the ratio of uninsured to insured in hospitals even more.
Two cases, to make the case:
I twisted my knee (playing hockey). Went to the local urgent care (where my own doctor sometimes works). Got an xray and a visit with the doctor (get crutches!). Cost: $175, negotiated to $100 by insurance, I paid $10.
I stubbed my toe really hard. Looked like I dislocated something. Too late for urgent care, so I went to the emergency room. Got an xray and a visit with the doctor (tape them piggies together!). Cost: $585, negotiated to $430 by insurance, I paid $40 (I’ve got good insurance).
A few things to note about these two incidents. First, although we are talking about different body parts, the services were essentially the same, so you’d expect the costs to be in line, all things being equal. However, the cost at the emergency room was 4x the cost at the urgent care, so it appears that my emergency room bill will pay for 3 folks with stubbed toes or twisted knees that can’t pay (or maybe one poor slob with a stab wound). That’s were the “socialized” part comes in. Its not direct, but it is hard to argue that it doesn’t exist.
Second, being an emergency room doc absolutely sucks. In the first case, my doc got about $70 of that $100, in the second, the emergency room doc got $25 of the $430. I’m sure emergency room docs are hurting (if they have to treat 3 other patients that can’t pay, and only get my $25), but the hospital probably isn’t (they took in $390, the other $15 was for reading the xray).