Coming from a country that has universal healthcare (the Uk) I only have good things to say about it, as do the vast majority of citizens over here.
To put it into some sort of perspective I offer some real life examples:
My girlfriend collapsed without explanation which resulted in me making an emergency call for immediate medical assistance, I got two paramedics within minutes who conducted preliminary examinations, a trip to the hospital where she was examined by a qualified doctor, received an ecg, had her blood and urine sent for examination and also had a head x-ray due to hitting her noggin when she collapsed.
My father in his time had two heart attacks, both of which required immediate medical attention, a sustained period in hospital, a battery of tests, a variety of medicines, a long period of qualified aftercare and the attention throughout of a variety of qualified medical personnel.
My mother having been suffering from intense headaches for months was rushed into hospital having been struck down be crippling head pains where she received tests and x-rays that revealed that she had developed a small hole in her skull about the size of a pin head and that pressure was forcing the lining of her brain through it thus causing the pain. This required a priority operation which saw the doctors remove bone from another part of her skull to fill the hole and then corrective surgery to repair the inscisions that had been necessary to conduct the surgery. Whilst they were at it and despite the fact that it was unrelated to the problem in hand the doctors also reconstructed my mothers inner ear in which she had been deaf for years, enabling her to hear through it once more.
All of this cost me/her/them nothing other than the contributions that we make each month to the government for the upkeep of our national health service. I cant begin to estimate the dollar value of the treatments in these three cases but can only guess that they would be substantial.
Our NHS isnt perfect by any means but it is universal and does provide an extremely high level of consistant service and care. You may read certain horror stories about waiting lists or MRSA related deaths and so on and for sure they have and do happen however they are in the very smallest minority of incidents and I doubt many health services the world over regardless of how they are funded have a better overall record.
Personally I'm not sure what America is scared about and Ive read some pretty silly things from the doubters ranging from the aforementioned exagerrations about witing lists and infections to paranoid fears regarding the mere idea of a health service that could be considered 'socialist'.
I'm not sure how easy it would be to introduce an NHS in America or how quickly that could be accomplished but what I do know is that the $215,463 worth of treatment you require wouldnt need an insurance policey or have cost me a penny more than the contributions I have to make each month.
I dont know the specifics of the problems with the U.S health service but I take great security from the fact that if anything at all happens to me or my family, if we get ill or injured in any way, we can walk into any hospital at any time and receive top quality care from qualified personel without having to worry where the money is coming from. I have no complaints.
I have a similar story (from Canada). When I was 17, my left lung collapsed spontaneously. Six months later, the right lung collapsed. Both times it required two operations - one to insert a chest tube to reinflate the lung, and a second surgery that was a full-on, open-chest, rib-spreader, staple-the-lung-to-the-chest-wall surgery. I was a healthy, normal 17-year old prairie kid with no bad habits - who just happened to have this happen to him. The doctors still don't seem to know what causes spontaneous pneumothorax - it's just one of those things that sometimes happens to tall, skinny teenage boys.
All four operations (including hospital stays, ongoing x-rays, post-op, etc.) cost me and my family absolutely nothing. As a direct result, my brother, sister and I were able to stay in university and finish our degrees. We all got decent jobs, and we each own houses and multiple cars now. In short, because my operations were free, four households (including my parents') were able to become high-purchasing consumers, contributing to a strong and thriving economy. If we had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the operations, I'm guessing all four households would be barely above the poverty line - a drain on society as opposed to contibutors.
Universal healthcare means a prosperous middle-class - and the middle-class should be the main driver of your economy. Everyone wins. This is a good idea, my American friends. In this survivor's opinion, you should do everything you can to support it.