I have lived in Spain for 28 years. I have had numerous small illnesses, have high cholesterol, have had a number of x-rays and other tests, and even a broken leg in these years. I have never had to pay more than $20 at any time for any medicines (including statins), and all of my checkups, tests and other services have been free of charge. Usually medicines are under $5. There is a fee taken from my paycheck every month, pooled with everyone else's taxes, and this provided healthcare for the entire population. Waits for non-emergency services may be longer than I'd like, but I always have the option of paying a small fee (much smaller than in the US) to see a private doctor if I don't feel like waiting. I can easily make an appointment to see my GP online, and if it's more urgent I don't need any appointment. Emergency services are 24/7 at the hospitals, and they work effectively based on level of urgency (someone complaining of stomach problems which have been giving them trouble for weeks will go to the bottom of the list, obviously - they could have seen their GP at any time before going to the emergency room!). It's generally agreed here that the level of public healthcare is better than the private because they have more funding; the only reason people go to private doctors is to avoid queues or if they want special treatment like private rooms for birthcare, etc.