But we already have a such a public/private system in place on another level. Schools. Some Republican leaders may even have attended some.
The basic, default system we have for educating kids in America is a public school, funded by tax dollars and available to all children regardless of income or location. In most areas, this system works very well (I would know, I attended several in multiple states up until 7th grade). They are not mandatory, of course. Why? Because our country also has numerous private schools, and many parents choose to spend the extra $$$ to have their children educated there instead. Those parents, however, still pay taxes for public schools. There may be some quiet grumbling about that by some, but for the most part it's a non-issue.
But, as with my previous entry, for some reason we view health-care differently. And that's wrong.
[PS- And that's not even getting into the fact that the presence of a public option will force the private companies to behave like human beings to compete for customers. And that's good for everyone. Unless you like the idea of practices like this continuing forever without accountability or consequence.]