By Julia Manchester
The Hill, October 22, 2018
More than half of Republicans in a new American Barometer poll say they support “Medicare for all,” also known as a single-payer health-care system.
The survey, conducted by Hill.TV and the HarrisX polling company, found that 52 percent of Republicans polled said they supported the option, while 48 percent said they opposed it.
Twenty-five percent said they “strongly” supported “Medicare for all,” while 27 percent said they “somewhat” supported it.
Twenty-two percent said they “somewhat” opposed the idea, while 26 percent said they “strongly” opposed it.
The poll comes as Democrats aim to make health care, along with “Medicare for all,” a central campaign issue.
Reid Wilson, campaign reporter for The Hill, told Hill.TV’s Joe Concha that Republicans have yet to find their messaging on the issue.
“Republicans are only beginning to think about how to message this. So this is not baked in at all. This is a debate that plays out over the long term,” he added.
The American Barometer was conducted on October 19-20 among 1,000 registered voters. The sampling margin of error is 3.1 percentage points.
By Don McCanne, M.D.
The question asked? Would you support or oppose providing Medicare to every American? This is not an ambiguous question.
According to this poll, half of registered Republicans now support Medicare for all (52% with a sampling error of 3.1%). Well over four-fifths of Democrats (86%) and two-thirds of Independents (68%) also are in support.
The support of the Democrats is understandable, but we can only speculate as to what has resulted in the sharp increase in support from Republicans, especially considering the intensity of political polarization in this nation. It is likely that Republican and Independent voters are quite dissatisfied with the status quo in health care financing, and that they have grown weary of the Republican politicians who have continued to call for the repeal of Obamacare, but when it came time to perform with a replacement program, they came up empty handed. The turning point may well prove to be when Sen. John McCain expressed the will of the American people by turning thumbs down on the empty charade of reform without substance.
Although the voters are aligning themselves in support of Medicare for all, the politicians are not, though the Republicans have latched onto supporting coverage of pre-existing conditions to show the voters that their hearts are in the right place, even if they have not developed any effective policies to implement it should Obamacare be repealed.
People lead, politicians follow. Hopefully the Republican voters will cause their candidates to develop some introspection and seriously consider the greater value that a Medicare for all would bring us – just common business sense – not to mention that the program would be truly universal, equitable, and affordable for all.
The congressional Republicans would have to neutralize the McConnell curse – if the the Democrats are for it, we’re against it – the insane attitude that partisan politics must take precedence over sound policy. It would be easiest if Sen. McConnell could simply experience a revelation. If the Republican voters are loud enough, that just could happen.
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