That is an important point, Vicki. It is, of course, true that countries with universal health care still pay for it, but it’s paid indirectly. Instead of having to budget for health insurance, we know it’s provided from the taxes we pay – be it through income, consumption, payroll, etc. In Canada, health care spending comes from general taxation, but in other countries it’s from taxes on employers, like a payroll tax.
I guess it would be more accurate to say we pay $0 directly for health insurance, but there is an indirect cost. However, the single-payer model allows for the per-capita cost of health care to be significantly reduced over what it would cost for us each to pay for it individually, not to mention the mental burden that’s lifted when the poor and middle-class don’t need to worry an extra bill to pay every month.
One thing I find really sad is that the United States doesn’t actually pay a significantly lower level of tax than Canadians – I’ve read some studies that say it’s a little less, and others that say it’s a little more – but they don’t get health care because so much of their tax money goes to the military.