Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute
Survey completed June-July 2018 (4,020 national participants)
Support for Medicare for All U.S. Adults
Q: Are you in favor of the federal government providing Medicare insurance coverage for all U.S. adults?
59% – All
71% – Democrats
46% – Republicans
55% – Independent
By Don McCanne, M.D.
Although this question asks about providing Medicare insurance coverage for all U.S. adults without mentioning children, nevertheless it still shows strong support for Medicare for all, including close to one-half of Republicans.
Efforts are being made to discredit these surveys by tacking on questions such as “even if it means the government raising your taxes,” or “even if it means losing your choice of health plans,” or “even if it means they take away your insurance through your work.” Inevitably these questions slightly reduce polling support for Medicare for all.
Polls that we don’t see are those that would tack on questions that would increase the credibility of the Medicare for all model. Instead of threatening an increase in taxes, suppose they were asked, “even if it meant that all but the very wealthiest would end up paying on average less overall for health care.” Instead of threatening loss of choice of health plans, suppose they were asked “even if it meant that you would no longer be limited to a list of physicians and hospitals dictated by the insurer but rather you had complete free choice of your health care professionals and institutions.” Instead of threatening loss of your health plan through work, suppose they were asked, “even if it meant that you would never have to worry about health insurance again because you would automatically have full comprehensive coverage for life.”
Obviously we could go further. “Even if Medicare for all meant that we would save hundreds of billions of dollars in administrative waste.” “Even if Medicare for all meant that nobody would ever have to go without care because they couldn’t afford it.” “Even if it meant that wherever you are in the country, you would never have to worry whether your insurance is good.” “Even if it meant that you would never have to busy yourself with insurance paperwork because coverage and billing is automatic.” “Even if it meant that you would not have to worry about whether you could afford the care you are about to receive since out-of-pocket costs would be eliminated for all essential health care services.”
Well, the good news is that people are gaining a better understanding of the benefits of the Medicare for all single payer model. Republican voters are realizing that the Republican promise of a better replacement for Obamacare proved to be false, and yet they understand that we need more than what the Affordable Care Act brought us. Democratic voters largely understand the benefits of single payer, but they are just beginning to realize that some Democratic politicians are using the Medicare for all rhetoric deceptively to maintain the status quo that caters to the insurers and pharmaceutical firms. It is no wonder that we are seeing an increase in independent voters who are wary of both major parties but who also seem to understand that Medicare for all seems to be a much better option than our current dysfunctional system.
We need to keep on with what we’re doing, except do a whole lot more of it. Maybe those of us who are octogenarians will no longer have to say, “but not in my lifetime.”
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