If your house starts burning the Fire Department comes and puts it out. They do not ask if you have insurance, or how much money you have, and they do not send you a bill afterward; they just put out the damned fire.
It wasn’t all that long ago that such would not have been the case. We didn’t have a public Fire Department, we had a bunch of private fire companies and homeowners purchased coverage from them. If you had not purchased coverage, your house burned down while all of the fire engines sat in the fire houses. How fast your house fire got dealt with depended on how good the fire company was that you had contracted with and how soon they could get to the fire.
So, why did we do away with the private fire companies and go with a central, municipal Fire Department? I’m glad you asked. We did that because the private fire company model wasn’t working very well; houses were burning down needlessly.
Tada! Just like private health insurance isn’t working very well now.
We used to have private police forces, too. That didn’t work very well either, so we went with a central, municipal police force. That also seems to be working quite a bit better.
Are you getting that fire and police protection for free? No, your taxes pay for the Fire Department that puts out fires and the Police Department that responds to burglary calls. If you don’t have a fire then your taxes pay to put out fires that somebody else has.
So why are the conservatives not screaming about socialized fire protection and socialized police forces? Well, because shut up, that’s why.