Via Balloon Juice, here's a piece from the Washington Post debunking many of the myths of health care quality in the rest of the industrialized world. This is one of the best, most straight-forward descriptions of the systems in other First World countries, in part because it doesn't rely exclusively on anecdotes, but has some data, too. The bottom line of the piece is that compared to our peer nations, the US spends more per person on worse care. The unique feature of the American system is the profit motive. We can do better.
As another example of the people who have fallen through the American system's cracks, here's one of the readers of Sullivan's blog writing in to the dudes caretaking during his absence. This guy's situation resonates with me since he's got asthma like I do. If, God forbid, I were laid off, and weren't able to find a new job before COBRA benefits expired, I'd be in his situation, perhaps paying $800/month out of pocket for inadequate care. Except I'd probably be more expensive, since I'm five years older than the guy.