"And in the US, I don't know how many parents would be OK with the government having the final say in whether a child has to have medical/dental care" MetrochickWell, OF COURSE you could opt out of the free medical and dental care..no big deal It wasn't a forced issue..I remember Julia was one lucky kid who never went the Murder House during the 5 years we were in primary school together...her parents' religion prevented it... But dental work was a service offered by the government ...(one reason I am sure, is because NZ water is lacking fluoride, so we were more susceptible to cavities.)..and I don't know why you wouldn't want your kids checked if you are paying taxes for that anyway.Mum was comfortably off, but as a widow with 5 children it was very helpful to have dental and medical "free" services. And I bet any mum with kids felt the same way. No one there has the feeling or knowledge as they do in the States, that a catastrophic illness can wipe you out financially.