Right now, a lot of people are comfortable with un-socialized medicine, where health care is just a commodity like pork bellies or soy beans. In other words, they think you can get just the amount of pork bellies, soy beans, or health care you can afford.
What is the defense for this point of view, and what the criticisms.
I would say this assessment is true; however there are two key exceptions in the US: Medicare and Medicaid
Medicare is a national social insurance program, administered by the U.S. federal government since 1965, that guarantees access to health insurance for Americans ages 65 and older and younger people with disabilities as well as people with end stage renal disease (Medicare.gov, 2012). As a social insurance program, Medicare spreads the financial risk associated with illness across society to protect everyone, and thus has a somewhat different social role from for-profit private insurers, which manage their risk portfolio by adjusting their pricing according to perceived risk.
Medicaid is the United States health program for certain people and families with low incomes and resources. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and is managed by the states. People served by Medicaid are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, including low-income adults, their children, and people with certain disabilities. Poverty alone does not necessarily qualify someone for Medicaid. Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with limited income in the United States.
I know that it is impossible to avoid all abuse of socialized medicine; in general I am in agreement with the concept. Eventually, overpopulation will overwhelm all attempts at socialized medical care, since it requires a surplus. Nobody wants to talk about population. It's the elephant in the room.