Democrats Favor Building on ACA Over ‘Medicare for All’
WASHINGTON — Most Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents would prefer to expand the Affordable Care Act rather than replace it with a “Medicare for All” plan, according to a new tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The poll, released Tuesday, also examines opinions on a generic government-run “public option” health plan that would be available to all Americans and compete with private insurance. About two-thirds of the public said they support a public option, though more than 6 in 10 Republicans oppose it. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.)
But the findings noted those opinions are far from set in stone. When told a public option would help drive down prices by increasing competition in the insurance market, support rose as high as 75%. When told it would lead to too much government involvement in healthcare, though, support fell to about 40%.
KFF’s findings may give pause to Democratic presidential candidates preparing for the second round of primary debates, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings on CNN.
Asked to choose between building on the ACA and replacing it with a national Medicare for All plan, 55% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they would expand the existing law. By comparison, 39% said they would prefer replacing the law with Medicare for All.
Respondents also voiced strong support for employer-based insurance, a reality likely to complicate efforts to replace the existing system. More than three-quarters have a favorable opinion of employer-based insurance, with an overwhelming majority of those covered by such plans rating their coverage as “good” or “excellent.”
Nearly all respondents covered by Medicare rated their coverage as “good” or “excellent.”
Primary season is when most candidates trot out the proposals that appeal to their party’s more ideologically driven voters, who are kicking the tires on a slate of potential nominees. Support for Medicare for All has become a litmus test for many progressive voters as they contemplate their more than two dozen candidates.
But as the primary season wanes, the remaining candidates traditionally shift toward more incremental proposals, hoping to attract the moderate voters they may need to win the presidency.
The new KFF poll shows the public’s support for the idea of Medicare for All has dipped to about 51%, from 56% in April.
In recent years, Medicare for All saw the peak of its favorability in March 2018, when about 59% of the public said they favored a system in which all Americans would get their insurance from one government plan.
While the newest numbers show support shifting among both Republicans and Democrats, the share of Democrats who said they “strongly favor” a Medicare for All plan has dropped to 42%, from 54% in April.
Medicare for All’s slip in popularity has come as Democratic presidential candidates have shared the details of their plans and Republicans have tested out campaign messages about creeping “socialism” in the healthcare system, suggesting an uphill battle toward making such a plan a reality.
About 83% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said it is “very important” for the candidates to discuss healthcare during this week’s debates, with half saying they would prefer the candidates focus on the differences among themselves rather than with Trump.
The poll also found strong support for some of the ACA’s key provisions, including among Republicans, as a challenge led by GOP state officials and endorsed by the Trump administration winds through the federal court system.
For example, more than 7 in 10 respondents said it is “very important” to prevent insurers from denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions, while 64% said it is “very important” to prevent them from charging sick people higher premiums than they charge healthy people.
Conducted July 18-23, the KFF poll surveyed 1,196 adults by landline and cellphone, in English and Spanish. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
©2019 Kaiser Health News
Visit Kaiser Health News at www.khn.org
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
In The News
In The News
WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday imposed an indefinite delay in the House of Representatives’ demand for President Donald Trump’s financial records. Roberts’ order Monday provides no hint about how the Supreme Court ultimately will resolve the dispute. It was handed down just hours... Read More
There’s a Midwestern Democrat running for president who’s surging in Iowa right now with a plain-spoken appeal and a moderate message of inclusion. Unfortunately for Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar, that candidate is Indiana’s Pete Buttigieg. The mayor of South Bend shot to the top of a Des... Read More
Hospitals will soon have to share price information they have long kept obscured — including how big a discount they offer cash-paying patients and rates negotiated with insurers — under a rule finalized Friday by the Trump administration. In a companion proposal, the administration announced it... Read More
WASHINGTON — If Rep. Max Rose’s voters expected the freshman lawmaker from Staten Island, N.Y., to quiet down this election cycle about a major overhaul of the nation’s political system, they were mistaken. It was a centerpiece of the Democrat’s campaign-trail mantra in 2018. And now,... Read More
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Donald Trump can make his case directly to the Intelligence Committee, but she vowed to protect the whistleblower whose complaint triggered the impeachment inquiry of the president’s actions with Ukraine. “The president could come right before the committee and... Read More
WASHINGTON — Democrats this week enter a do-or-die phase of their impeachment inquiry following a week of public testimony, as they summon a flurry of witnesses they hope will convince the public that President Trump should be impeached for pressing a foreign government to launch criminal... Read More