Basically, the argument is that universal health care would be so popular that Republicans would lose their grip on social conservatives. Michael F. Cannon makes the case:
Ditto Baucus’ health plan. And Kennedy’s. And Wyden’s.
Why? Norman Markowitz, a contributing editor at PoliticalAffairs.net (motto: "Marxist Thought Online"), makes an interesting point about how making citizens dependent on the government for their medical care can change the fates of political parties:
A "single payer" national health system – known as "socialized medicine" in the rest of the developed world – should be an essential part of the change that the core constituencies which elected Obama desperately need. Britain serves as an important political lesson for strategists.
After the Labor Party established the National Health Service after World War II, supposedly conservative workers and low-income people under religious and other influences who tended to support the Conservatives were much more likely to vote for the Labor Party...
I’m no student of British history, but that sounds about right. Markowitz continues:
The best way to win over the the portion of the working class in the South or the West that supported McCain and the Republicans is to create important new public programs and improve the social safety net. National health care [and other measures] will bring reluctant voters into the Obama coalition. That is how progress works.
Republicans might want to take note.
Cannon has everything backwards: the GOP's survival depends on Republicans being part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.