Yesterday NPR had a story about whether Switzerland is a good role model for reforming the U.S. healthcare system. Everyone is obligated to have health insurance that provides a basic level of coverage. For those below a certain income level, the premiums are subsidized. If you want coverage for care above and beyond the basic level, you have to pay for it. The insurance is provided through a variety of private companies who compete with one another but the insurers have no ability to turn anyone away from the basic coverage level.
The story suggests it works quite well. But the Swiss, like us, are concerned about rising healthcare costs over the last several years. One good thing about being the last industrialized nation to provide universal coverage? There are a lot of other countries whose experiences we can evaluate.