This from Matthew Yglesias:
"Be that as it may, I think Hanson's observation that "humans long ago evolved a tendency to use medicine to 'show that we care,' rather than just to get healthy" partially explains why things like the UK's National Health Service generate so much bang for the buck. In effect, a highly centralized state run health care system is able to put a cap on how much demonstrative caring can be done through the health care system. Nobody's going to say to his or her spouse, "well, sure we could afford the procedure, but it doesn't really stand up to cost-benefit analysis compared to spending the money on organic produce for the kids" but if bureaucrats stand in your way well, then, that's hardly your fault."
This is I think the chief virtue of a single payer plan which is it provides a clean and simple manner (if designed properly) to contain costs. I don't think such a plan is likely in our political systesm, especially when you look to Obama or Edwards' plans and is likely to simply replicate the deficiencies of our present system while sacrificing the benefits (namely innovation).