Andrew Sullivan shares a bit of common sense on the subject:
One final thing: most Americans do not want people dying in the streets.I, too, have often thought of this truth and have brought this up in a few conversations with my conservative friends. What do we do with those who simply cannot afford adequate health care and have no recourse but to seek expensive last minute care in emergency rooms? Do we just shrug our shoulders and walk away, leaving these folks to just crawl into some corner of their unfortunate realities and die? No. We would never let this happen, simply out of a sense of common human decency. So, we have very sick poor folks lining up in emergency rooms and we agree, as taxpayers, to pay for this. Fiscally, this is madness. Wouldn't it be infinitely better for the poor or indigent, and much more fiscally sound, to bring them into a public system that provides basic preventive health care that both keeps them out of the emergency room AND ensures that they are healthy enough to perhaps work through their poverty and eventually move off of the public health care option to a perhaps more thorough and comprehensive plan?
If you have guaranteed emergency room care for the uninsured at public expense, you have already effectively socialized medicine. It makes no sense not to bring these people into the insurance system, and to offer less expensive, long-term preventive healthcare. To insist that ideology stand in the way of this piece of compassionate common sense is irresponsible.