"See this newspaper," he told me, picking it up from a stack of free newspapers. "It's the Weekly Worker, the Communist newspaper. They used to be the Daily Worker, but after the fall of the Soviet Union they fell on hard times.

"This article talks about socialized medicine. It says that socialized medicine is unpopular in the US, so its supporters should switch to saying 'single-payer' instead.

"You watch and wait. All the media will switch."

That was the first time I'd heard the phrase "single-payer". But indeed these days it's "socialized medicine" that's the uncommon term.

"Single-payer" always was too obviously euphemistic, though: not the right sort of misleading to really get traction in the popular mind. If you have to explain who that "single" payer is, you've already lost.

I did eventually realize where it fits into the pantheon of sloganeering. The original is in German; one just changes the last word:

"Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Payer".