Here is a quote from a comment on Paul Campos' blog:
All Americans survived for hundreds of years with out health insurance and things worked just fine.
Survived? Sure. "Things worked just fine"? What do you mean by "fine", though? Are people really so unimaginative these days that they have no idea just how much they benefit from modern health technology, like vaccines and antibiotics?
We've eradicated smallpox, which killed almost half a billion people in the 20th century alone. In 1977, there were a quarter million crippled polio survivors in the United States.
Many conditions associated with malnutrition have also become very rare in the Western world. They could be eliminated in the entire world, if the geopolitical climate were different; we have the physical resources to do so, but getting them to those who need them has proven very difficult. I'm talking about rickets, scurvy, starvation, and birth defects that can be prevented by folic acid intake.
And, as a side note, I think it is arrogant to fret over what to do about fat people when there are still people in the world who don't have enough to eat.
We've also significantly reduced a number of illnesses that result from unsanitary conditions. Whether it's clean drinking water that won't give you dysentery, cholera, or giardia, or it's having your flesh wound cleaned out properly so it doesn't turn gangrenous, our modern knowledge of sanitation has been an incredible breakthrough for health.
We live in very different times now. We don't even think about many of these diseases that maimed and killed people for those magical hundreds of years without health insurance. Our big, scary diseases (cancer, heart disease) are ones associated with old age--because we are living longer than ever before.
I'd gladly send these folks back to live in the days before sanitation, vaccinations, and adequate food supplies to do "just fine". If dying from diarrhea, starvation, or a now-eliminated virus is "just fine", that is.