What we have come to mean by health insurance is “cheap medical care.” They are not the same thing.
This confusion is most obvious when people talk about the uninsured as if the uninsured don’t get health care. Of course they do. They just pay more for it (or they get it for free under certain circumstances.)
Most importantly, the cost of health care, whether you are uninsured or over 65 has been increased and distorted by the public subsidies to insurance that artificially lower the out of pocket costs for those who are insured either via employer-based coverage or Medicare and Medicaid. This is what makes being uninsured in modern America, no matter your age, so unpleasant. It’s that what you pay when you do need health care is artificially high.
With all the noise and rancor concerning health care reform, this is about the smartest thing I’ve read. It’s short, so read the whole thing.