Considering I actually pay taxes (if them checks don't bounce) to the government, I'd say it's an insurance. Giving the quality of treatment I and my family members received in the last few years, I also get the feeling it's a handout. But that's only because of the horror stories I read about in other countries without free healthcare. I'm glad we take education and health seriously here and understand how important it is for our society to prosper. Call it socialism or any other evil word, I call it the least we can do.