I work in healthcare. It's a complicated system which can be generalized to a rather simple explanation.
1. There is no truly free healthcare. Some people do use government assistance, but they are still paying something. It's limited. And it's funded by tax payer dollars.
2. All healthcare cost is based on reimbursement rates. The lowest possible rate is the Medicare rate (government insurance). Private insurers then benchmark their rates for reimbursement based off the Medicare rate. Healthcare payment is very backwards. Medicare tells hospitals how much it will pay them for a certain procedure, treatment, visit, etc. The hospital can have a book rate of whatever they want, but the rate paid by the government and by their "accepted" insurance companies will be different. Each insurance company has their own negotiated rate. Hence, not every healthcare provider (doctor, clinic, hospital) will accept your insurance plan - meaning will give you a discounted rate.
3. If you go a healthcare provider who has a negotiated rate, you said to be going "in plan". This will cost you much less. If you go anywhere else, you are said to be going "out of network" which is much more costly. Anywhere from paying the book rate to paying a higher percentage of the cost yourself than you would have paid if you went "in plan".
Example - Southern Cross Hospital accepts United Healthcare, Medicare and Big Name Insurance. You have coverage with United Healthcare. You will be "in plan" and pay a sharply discounted rate based on your insurance coverage with United Healthcare. However, Northern Memorial Hospital doesn't accept United Healthcare. You don't know this and go there for a procedure. When the bill comes, you will have a big shock and be told by your insurance company that they will only pay 60% of it. The rest is all yours.
4. On the plus side, we can choose to see any doctor we want (We may just pay more for it.). Waiting lists are absolutely unheard of. You can go to any hospital you want.
The problems of socialized medicine simply don't exist in the States. Believe me. I know what I am talking about. I'm an American living in a country with socialized medicine. After my first few visits here, especially seeing the stark hospitals which everyone hear raved about being "so lovely and homey", receiving the rushed impersonal care, and having to wait forever for blood results or US reads, I was so eager to get back to the States.
Sadly, this second baby will be born here too. I am pining for a good, old American maternity hospital which looks like a resort compared to the brand new birthing hospital which is supposed to be state-of-the-art and one of the best here where I am living. There's no comparison. I would pay for it ANY DAY over having socialized care.
**Edit: And to help other American posters who have no experience with socialized medicine, please know that if you want to see lack of care, people dying unnecessarily, etc. , just go to a country WITH socialized medicine. It's pathetic here. People routinely die because they are waiting for a cath procedure to resolve a simple blockage that closes the artery before they are seen causing a fatal heart attack or get a major infection while waiting for joint surgery. There's not enough cancer medication for everyone. Children's immunizations schedules are curtailed because they don't have enough vaccine. One of our close friends lost his father because they didn't recognize the obvious signs of a stroke and then pulled the plug after 24 hours when he had visible reactions like blinking and squeezing hands as well as showing signs of improving brain activity because "It's too expensive. We don't keep people in comas here." We have problems in the US, but socialized medicine is NOT the answer.