I wish the government could be trusted to handle things in an efficient manner. State-run hospitals, staffed by doctors who received free tuition to med school in return for a certain number of years service, could in theory solve a lot of problems. Unfortunately, there is no realistic way that wouldn't turn into a boondoggle. I feel the same way about single-payer.
I never understood this argument the government runs our military and intelligence. Yes there are some problems, mistakes and inefficiencies--but it works for the most part. Do we contract out the navy --make the navy for profit? What is different about a state run health care? Also my understanding is that government VA hospitals are generally strong facilities.
I think it is mostly optics as well as who benefits from the inefficiencies. Optics are mostly affected by scale; with a system as big as medicaid/medicare there is going to be some waste and fraud. But, as a percentage of the budget, if you just look at dollars paid in and dollars paid for care, medicare/medicaid is superior (ie, more efficient per dollar care) than any private company. So there are more visible cases of exploiting medicaid, but the system as a whole is more efficient.
Then there is the differing standards. We often expect perfection from public services, then when not perfect, punt it to a private option, which is often worse, but tolerable because we "expect" more imperfection/inefficiency from for profit enterprises. Happens all the time, hence the "perfection is the enemy of good" saying.
Then there is the who benefits, which is highly cultural; given that more money put into medicare comes out as patient care, where is the "inefficient" private sector money (ie money paid in but not paid out for patient care) going? Mainly to insane bonuses and salaries out of proportion to the "public good" value of providing coverage for medical care. But as a culture, a large segment tends to glorify if not just tolerate such situations. Whereas the inefficiencies of medicare/medicaid, such that they are, tend to benefit in tiny ways several various poor people, which a large segment of the population can't stomach.