Your priorities are very different from mine and you appear to believe that we could create a single-payer system in this country which would (1) be satisfactory to most citizens and (2) cost half as much as our aggregate spending today. I don't believe that is a possibility in this country, though you appear to accept it as an undeniable fact.
I bump into this notion quite often from folks on the right - single-payer (some version of) won't work in the US because the US is unique. I'm sure George and the other folks who repeat this notion actually believe it so but for the life of me, I can't see a historical or logical basis to imagine it is true. US citizens consistently support social security, for example, and when polled on the elements of universal medical insurance/delivery show support for those elements as well (when loaded terminology such as "Obamacare" are absent in the polling).
Leaving completely aside here the hugely important matter of financial interests involved, the rather more plausible thesis is that, as a matter of ideological stance and certainty, folks on the right merely wish American citizens broadly agree with the right wing ideological stance or they are reluctant to consider that they are in a minority. The mythology of exceptionalism is a handy presumption used to bolster this (and quite a few other) right wing notions.
But the problem for the right is exactly the reverse of what they claim. It isn't that it would be unpopular but rather that it would be popular. In all other western nations of we call the 'free world' where some variant of government managed healthcare is in place, there is no example to be found of citizens wishing to overturn or dismantle their systems in order to go with a system such as the US has or had in place. And because no such popular sentiment exists, no political party advances this as a platform plank. They know they'd get murdered electorally.
And that is precisely the rationale advanced by Bill Kristol in his '93 memo to Republicans on "Hillarycare" and why it had to be killed.
"December 2, 1993 - Leading conservative operative William Kristol privately circulates a strategy document to Republicans in Congress. Kristol writes that congressional Republicans should work to "kill" -- not amend -- the Clinton plan because it presents a real danger to the Republican future: Its passage will give the Democrats a lock on the crucial middle-class vote and revive the reputation of the party. Nearly a full year before Republicans will unite behind the "Contract With America," Kristol has provided the rationale and the steel for them to achieve their aims of winning control of Congress and becoming America's majority party. Killing health care will serve both ends. The timing of the memo dovetails with a growing private consensus among Republicans that all-out opposition to the Clinton plan is in their best political interest. Until the memo surfaces, most opponents prefer behind-the-scenes warfare largely shielded from public view. The boldness of Kristol's strategy signals a new turn in the battle. Not only is it politically acceptable to criticize the Clinton plan on policy grounds, it is also politically advantageous. By the end of 1993, blocking reform poses little risk as the public becomes increasingly fearful of what it has heard about the Clinton plan." http://to.pbs.org/KkSOtv
Americans would like it. This will do great damage to "small government" ideology - the foundation of right wing or Republican ideas and claims - and would deal a grievous blow to Republican electoral changes for a considerable distance up the road. Citizens would become, again, mindful that government can actually function to make their lives better. Can't let that happen (and let's note that Bill has no apparent consideration at all of anything here other than GOP electoral opportunities and forwarding the small government ideology). People sick and dying. **** 'em.