Maybe. I envision a couple different scenarios. First, it will take a very short period of time before folks realize that we can't afford unlimited healthcare for everyone. The debate will be in defining the limit -- a certain level of healthcare provided for everyone based on a certain cost. I would like to see it end up on a local level a la education whereby a certain minimum standard must be met, the community must raise funds to meet that standard and those communities who would like to fund higher levels may do so.
Second, It wouldn't take long before we run into "no child left behind" type debacle where the feds think they need to be involved, but that would put us right back where we are today unless we throw out the existing dynamic and begin anew.
Yes, I am a dreamer....
Yes, you are a dreamer, but not in the way you think.
If people have to pay for 100% of their own healthcare most will be far more judicious in terms of what they seek. They won't run to the doctor when they have the sniffles, they won't insist on an MRI for all sorts of minor complaints, and they won't be as quick to fill their medicine cabinet with scores of pills they don't really need
However, when they need extra-ordinary medical attention (either for themselves or their loved ones), most will do whatever they have to, to get the money to pay for it.
There is only one entity possible in a single-payer system: The Government. The term is code for socialized medicine. If that's what you feel works best for people, fine but call a spade a spade.
People are not going to retain, and more importantly, pass on to their progeny the frugality they learned from paying 100% themselves once The Government picks up the tab.
As a result, The Government will have to ration healthcare.
In your dream perhaps you can get everyone to agree on limitations, but not in the waking world.
Before you suggest that they have, Canadians and Brits have not agreed upon the healthcare limitations imposed by their socialized medicine programs.
They may live with the limits because they feel like they have no choice, and when they don't run up against a limit themselves, the limits probably don't bother them, but there was never a national consensus in Canada or the UK on what degree of rationing was acceptable.
Moreover, if someone in Canada or the UK can come up with the money, their healthcare will not be limited by national guidelines. So who really has to make do with the necessary limitations? The aged and terminally ill who are poor.
A world in which the aged poor and the terminally ill are deemed too bad a bet for the community to pay for their healthcare is hardly the stuff of dreams.
In any case, how does this sort of rationing signifigantly differ from the rationing that would take place in a totally free market approach?
More poor children would probably perish under one than the other, but neither will provide for all.
Do you think that you can develop a consensus in your dream world such that everyone agrees poor children are more vital to society than their elderly mothers and fathers?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not mocking your idea of socialized medicine, only the notion that you think of it as something aspirational and so favorable as to conjure the magic of dreams.
Healthcare for all is indeed a large problem, but there is no perfect solution.
Whether the system is governed by the market or bureaucrats, some people are going to come out on the short end of the stick.
I have greater faith in the market than in bureaucrats.