I have tried very hard not to make this anything political, I'm not trying to start a political debate
Probably because of the legal complexities of providing medical care.
We are already badly in need of TORT reform because of lawsuits against doctors who gave the wrong diagnosis or caused injury, when it was done in the best of faith, and the presence of true negligence is debatable.
Medicine, as advanced as it is, is not an exact science by any means. A lot of guesswork is involved as many of us very well known, and the sheer complexity of medical ailments and the number of those ailments, makes it impossible to have any real sort of modernly standardized knowledge base that all doctors would "have to know". Because you just -can't- know it all.
Taking the idea of some place like Walmart running medical care, I don't think that would be a good idea. Walmart's best interest is not in your health, it is their bottom line. Our current medical community also functions this way, however corporations in particular are protective of their bottom lines in a manner that could only be classed as "visceral" in nature.
Its good that they have programs like cheap prescriptions and things like that, but the idea of a corporation providing healthcare (to veer away from Walmart in particular) doesn't seem to work very well, even if it appears that way on the surface.. Much like with the idea of Government systems like they have abroad, the emphasis would not be on quality of care or quality of the patient, but more on the bottom line. Doing the cheapest thing possible and getting away with it. Bring in corporations and the complexities of TORT litigation because of a wrong diagnosis, etc and I feel that it would encourage a health care corporation to provide very minimal bare-bones care. Out come the contracts you have to sign agreeing not to hold the corporation responsible for the result of the care you receive, agreeing to give up your right to sue them for complications or unforseen malpractice, or a flat out wrong diagnosis that results in further injury to your health - or death.
I rather like the system we have now. It is THE BEST system in the world, it just needs to be updated and improved. There needs to be a focus on reducing ridiculous litigation against doctors that drive them out of business because they are bankrupt, or because they can't get insurance coverage that isn't astronomical.
There needs to be a system-wide revamp of the education process of what it requires to become a Medical Doctor. They need to reinforce the idea that everything the learn at medical school is NOT everything they need to know. They need to teach them that sometimes the patient IS right, and that they need to be proactive in pursuing current up-to-date research on medical problems whether they are age old ailments, or something that has received relatively little attention until now, such as Restless Legs Syndrome. They need to instill in these doctors that working with the patient to gather research is the best way to treat their patient; because a patient involved feels like they are helping to make a difference in improving their life.
They need to institute practices that further patients rights and reward good doctors and punish bad doctors who ignore research about a condition or the drugs recommended to treat that condition. If Doctors knew that if they manhandled a patient and then that patient would leave the office and call a watchdog group to complain, or lodge a formal complaint about care received to some governing body of physicians, whom that doctor would have to appear before to argue their decisions, just like a regular court system - we would probably have a LOT less arrogant know-it-all Doctors out there.
The system is fine, aside from badly needed legilastion to reduce and regulate costs to reasonable levels, whether its a 15 minute visit, or an x-ray or MRI or surgery or transplant procedure. People like me -should- be subsidized by the government, but we most certainly should not be penalized with taxes for NOT having insurance.
So to sum up, the top 3 things needed to really improve care in our country are.
Fix the coverage issues with realistic down to earth solutions.
Fix the cost issues of practing medicine and receiving medical care
Fix the problems of inadequate care by new educational reforms encouraging life-long research and giving victimized patients the ability to fight back against arrogant or just plain stubborn Doctors who try to impose their personal views on our level of care, recognition of diseases, or what medications their prescribe - especially pain medications
Pain is one of the most under-treated medical problems in our country.