The state dilemma of American medical care is rapidly increasing costs that threaten both quality of care and equal access to care. A frequently cited example of what the United States can expect as the crunch between cost and care gets worse is rationing, as used in the British National Health Service. The introduction of the British National Health Service, according to this analysis, is inappropriate and clouds the relevant issues. The example of national health insurance in Canada--a country much more similar to the United States in size, geography, and governmental and social structure--is a much more appropriate model to examine. Canada, comparably large, wealthy, and socially heterogeneous, spends approximately 20% less of its GNP on medicine, yet has both universal national health insurance and no serious rationing problem. Their example is reason to question the stark dilemma of cost vs. care in American medicine.