American culture is very sink-or-swim. There isn't as much cultural demand for a safety net. I attribute this to our cultural memory of the frontier. Europeans think of welfare as a country taking care of its citizens--Americans are more likely to think of it as forcing hardworking, productive people to support those who can't be bothered to work for a living.
Incidentally, it's a misnomer that the US has one of the worse healthcare systems in any developed nation. The US has the single best healthcare system in human history, if you can afford it. Some people from countries with socialized medicine actually come here to have stuff done, since they'd rather pay to travel and have medical care in the US rather than wait in the queue in their own country. What the US lacks is a way of making the full use of that system available to everyone.
> The US has the single best healthcare system in human history, if you can afford it.
It's that if you can afford it that makes it worst healthcare systems in any developed nation in some people's eyes.
Everyone is comparing apples to oranges when it comes to this stuff.
System 1: Everyone has health care but it may be subject to wait-listing which leads to major problems.
System 2: A percentage of the population can't afford basic care but those that can, get exceptional care. Emergency care is typically available to everyone through public hospitals regardless of ability to pay but if you can afford part of it, it has the potential bankrupt you.
The systems reflect cultural bias.
Note: Any system has the potential to become rationed.
To compare national healthcare quality you need to look at health indicators for the entire country, rather than the best possible case.
Talking about it in this way is like saying that YC has made a profit on every company that successfully exited. It's technically true, but it tells you absolutely nothing about the performance of Y Combinator as a whole.
A while ago I read an interesting article about why the US and Canada are so different in culture. Unfortunately Googling failed to find it again, but the summary version was that the US was heavily influenced by immigration by Ulster Scots from Northern Ireland, where Canada was more influenced by immigration directly from Scotland.
The difference between a colonising culture (the Ulster Scots) versus a colonised culture (the Scots) apparently explains the huge culture rift.
It was a compelling narrative, but that just makes me suspicious about it. It's easy to convince people of your pet theory if you make it into a good story.