Two very recent national Polls Show the “ Public Option, “ or Medicare For-All-Who-Want-It, Offer the Democratic Party a Stronger Hand in Winning the 2020 Election than Medicare for All, which would replace private insurance with a government plan. The two polls closely divide on Medicare for All, the government plan, with the public supportive in one, and not supportive in the other. But the ” Public Option ” proposal has overwhelming support.
The importance of health care was on display to the American people in the recently completed rounds of the Democratic Presidential debates, and will continue as a vital national issue through the 2020 Presidential election and beyond. The Democratic candidate against the Hater-in-Chief will inevitably have a platform for health care, and many other issues as well, and the quality of that health care platform ( and the quality of the nominee) will be major factors in whether the Democratic candidate wins or not. As appalling as it is to consider that President Trump will stay competitive in the campaign for the Presidency, the Democratic candidate must have an appealing platform to make social and economic progress for the people of our country without risking losing the election.
Two major national polls, the Marist Poll, and the Kaiser Family Foundation, sampled American attitudes on “ Medicare for All, “ or a national government health insurance plan, versus the “ Public Option, “ or a plan that permitted Americans to choose either a national health plan, like Medicare, or keep their private health insurance. The Kaiser Foundation also separately polled Democrats on whether they preferred improving health insurance by building on the Affordable Care Act or replacing it with Medicare for All, with very interesting results.
Here are the results of the Marist Poll on Medicare For All, with the question presented as whether it was a good idea or a bad idea for Americans to have a national health insurance plan that would replace their private insurance. The poll took place on July 15-17. There were 1,346 adults and 1,175 registered voters in the poll. The margin of error for registered voters was 3.7%.
The poll shows 40% of registered voters supported a Medicare for All plan that replaced their private insurance, versus 55% of Americans who did not. By contrast, the ” Public Option, ” had far broader support in the Marist Poll.
The ” Public Option ” was supported by 69% of registered voters, who said allowing a choice between their private insurance or a national health insurance plan was a good idea. Only 26% said it was a bad idea. A near plurality of Republicans thought it was a good idea, 46%, versus 48% of Republicans who thought it was a bad idea. 90% of Democrats thought the ” Public Option ” was a good idea, as did 70% of independents. 33% of voters identified as Democrats, 27% as Republicans, and 38% identified as independents, once again showing a plurality of Americans do not identify with either political party, making them the swing voters in the election.
The Kaiser Family Foundation national poll showed about half the public supported Medicare for All. It was conducted from July 18-23 with 1,196 adults and had a margin of error of 3 points. 51% of adults supported a Medicare for All Plan, versus 42% who did not.
The Kaiser Family Foundation Poll on the Public Option showed a similar level of support for the Public Option as the Marist Poll did, with 65% supporting the Public Option in the Kaiser poll, compared to 70% in Marist.
On the question of Medicare for All, the Marist Poll added language that provided the poll respondent with information that Medicare for all would replace their private insurance. Support for Medicare for all fell to 41% of adults and 40% of registered voters,compared to 51% support for Medicare for All in the Kaiser Plan without mentioning replacement of private insurance.
In the Kaiser Poll, the question of the Public Option was presented as a public plan that would compete with private insurance and had 65% support, versus 31% opposition. Republican support was lower in the Kaiser Plan; 36%, compared to 46% in the Marist Plan., but overall public support was still quite substantial.
The Kaiser Family Foundation separately polled Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents on their views about expanding health insurance by building on the Affordable Care Act or replacing it with Medicare for All. Interestingly, majorities of Democrats, including liberal Democrats, were more supportive of building on the ACA to expand coverage rather than moving to Medicare for All.
The Marist Poll showed Democrats supported Medicare for All 64-31, or 2-to-1. The Kaiser Poll on attitudes of Democrats toward expanding health coverage still showed Democrats favored an incremental approach to improving health care, namely, expanding the ACA over Medicare for All, by 57-36. These results suggest that, while a large majority of Democrats philosophically support Medicare for All, a majority also support an incremental approach to achieving social progress, perhaps in part out of recognition that a political backlash toward Medicare for All could lose the 2020 election for the party. Or it could be that many Democrats are satisfied with their current private insurance, or both.
There is a long way to go before the Democrats nominate their candidate and the platform gets hashed out. If the candidate backs Medicare for all, so be it. I am voting for any Democrat against the Hater-in-Chief. But I do want the Democrats to win, and Medicare for All seems far riskier as the platform than Medicare for All Who Want It, which might be overwhelmingly popular as a way to make progress on health care.