(About damn time, huh?)
Okay, so it's easy to dispel the Moore favored single-payer system:
Assume that the government is now paying for same total amount of health care--however, because health care consumers experience no out of pocket cost for additional health care (what economists call a zero marginal cost to the consumer), they will demand a quantity of health care greater than they demand now. Boom Shortages. Problem not solved.
You've still got rationing, except now it's done by government instead of insurance companies. You really think that will be better? A quick (if only) trip to the DMV should disabuse you of that notion. You may think it's tough arguing with insurance companies about coverage, but have you ever tried arguing with an administrative bureaucracy [IRS]? Think about how politics can get involved: "why are my good Christian tax dollars going to help treat that homosexual with the gay plague?" [The excellent politics point respectfully stolen from Kip Esquire].
Oh but we're not finished, let's look at the producer side: We all know that the incredible quality (not including access) of our health care comes from profit motivated innovation. An egalitarian single payer system is going to ruin that. People are not going to be able to pay more for better, so why make anything better? Certainly there are some who would like to cure diseases for the humanitarian good, but that research still costs money and that money is going to be harder to come by when investors looking for profit are no longer going to provide any of it.
Woe is us. What can we do? Well, some, try have their cake and eat it too, with a dual system. The free health care for everyone, but still allow people to pay for private health care if they want it (Paging John Edwards). That sounds nice at first blush: you solve the access problem, but you don't damage the profit motive for innovation! Except that you do.
Providing health care to everyone using tax dollars will mean providing health care to those who do not pay any taxes, as well as to those who don't pay enough taxes to cover their consumption of the government provided good. The free system is going to be strained from day one. Then there will be those who will use the free health care even though they could afford private (hey, it's free!) Of course there will be those super rich who will prefer paying the higher cost for private health care, because it will be a) better in quality (of course you are paying for it) and b) fewer other people will be using it, so there will be shorter lines! Problem here comes with b. Fewer people paying, means they will be paying more to retain the quality of the good. Otherwise the income from providing the private health care won't be enough to pay for the innovation that makes it better. So either the quality differential will evaporate or the price will keep going up.
Consider the following analogy: Education. We have free public schools as well as not free private schools. Most won't deny that the quality of private education is by and large better than what we find in public schools. However, the cost of private schools is prohibitively high for most, and is going up for those who can still afford it (still paging John Edwards). So we want to import this model into our health care? (One important difference: even private schools are non-profit. They don't need profit to provide higher quality education, but the quality of health care depends on innovation that needs to be paid for by profit, so I think the differences between public and private health care cost will be even starker than the difference in the education).
Now I am a big supporter of school choice. I truly believe that by letting the consumers direct where their educational dollars go, we will keep our super posh private schools affordable only to the elite; we will develop mid-range schools that are better than the bottom tier and are affordable to the middle class; as well as improve (eventually) the quality of schools for those who can only afford what the voucher is worth. I think this model might be the best choice for our health care problem, assuming we believe that the government should be subsidizing it (and it looks like more and more people believe that).
While we are at, PinkCare will make money paid beyond the health voucher tax deductible, return unused voucher dollars at the end of the year, and allow tax deferred IRA style Health Saving Accounts. I have full confidence that this will go a lot farther to fixing the problem than simply letting the government take over the whole operation.