- A new poll found 59% of Americans support a “national Medicare-for-all plan.”
- The plan is similar to a proposal made by Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential campaign.
- Support for the idea is split along party lines, with only 36% of Republicans in favour.
The healthcare system supported by Bernie Sanders and many liberal-leaning Democrats has begun gaining steam with more Americans, according to a new poll.
The poll, from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy think tank, found that:
- 59% of respondents supported a Medicare-for-all healthcare system in which all Americans would get coverage through a government program like Medicare or Medicaid.
- Moving to a public-option model, under which people could sign up for the Medicare-like program, would be even more popular.
- About 75% of the public would favour a program framed as a public option for anyone who wants it.
There is, as expected, a partisan split in the polling on Medicare-for-all:
- 75% of Democrats support the idea along with 58% of independents.
- But just 36% of Republicans are in favour of the idea.
- But, when asked about the optional expanded Medicare program, or “Medicare-for-some,” support among GOP voters jumped to 64%.
While the Medicare-for-all option is still a difficult sell for lawmakers, 16 Democrats signed on to Sanders’ bill to implement such a program in the US back in September. Additionally, many business leaders and politicians have been floating the idea for a single-payer system, which would see the government fund a vast majority of medical coverage.
Despite the findings, Kaiser said it is not conclusive whether the same percentage of people would support a concrete piece of legislation.
“It is unclear how support levels would fare once each of these proposals became part of the larger public debate on health care in this country,” the organisation’s researchers wrote. “Prior Kaiser Family Foundation surveys have found the public’s attitudes can be quite malleable, and some people could be convinced to change their position after hearing typical pro and con arguments that might come up in a national debate.”
In a 2017 Kaiser poll, for instance, people presented with arguments against a similar proposal became 13 percentage points to 21 percentage points less likely to support the idea depending on the argument. On the other hand, people presented with arguments for a Medicare-for-all types idea increased their support anywhere between 9 percentage points and 17 percentage points.
Given the current political landscape, and the GOP’s historic distaste for government healthcare programs, it is unlikely any Medicare-for-all proposal could gain much traction anytime soon.