It is true that public health systems like in Canada, Britain, France, and pretty much everywhere else in the civilized world pay less to practitioners. An essay I'm reading this morning says public systems pay doctors and hospitals a third of what they receive in the U.S. So folks in those countries with public health systems must have a heck of a time finding a doctor or a hospital bed... right?
Although some think the United States has the largest number of doctors, we actually have fewer physicians per 1,000 population than the European average (2.4 vs. 3.1), about the same number of nurses per 1,000 (10.5 vs. 9.7), and fewer hospital beds per 1,000 (2.7 vs. 3.9) [Arthur Garson, Jr., and Carolyn L. Engelhard, "You Get What You Pay For?" Governing.com, February 2009].
Garson and Engelhart also note that "free" market health care doesn't exactly get us more efficiency: 24 cents of every American health care dollar pays for administrative costs, the paperwork and bureaucracy that's worse in our uncoordinated private system than in the centralized, standardized public systems of our global neighbors.
$528 billion a year, on paperwork instead of prescriptions. And we prefer to haggle over the $140,000 mistake Tom Daschle's accountant made.