Democrats Favor Building on ACA Over ‘Medicare for All’

July 31, 2019by Emmarie Huetteman

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

‘Do Something’: Active Shooter Trainings Teach How to Fight Back Against a Gunman In The News
‘Do Something’: Active Shooter Trainings Teach How to Fight Back Against a Gunman

GOLDEN, Colo. — The gunman paced the hallways of the charter school, passing framed paintings of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson before stopping outside classroom 138. There, he took a deep breath, yanked open the door and began firing. GOLDEN-CO-AUGUST 28, 2019: School resource officer for... Read More

Americans’ Struggles With Medical Bills Are a Foreign Concept in Other Countries Health
Americans’ Struggles With Medical Bills Are a Foreign Concept in Other Countries

GORINCHEM, Netherlands — In France, a visit to the doctor typically costs the equivalent of $1.12. A night in a German hospital costs a patient roughly $11. And in the Netherlands — one of the few wealthy nations other than the U.S. where patients face a... Read More

To Rein in Cities, Texas Tries to Ban Their Lobbying Lobbying
To Rein in Cities, Texas Tries to Ban Their Lobbying

AUSTIN, Texas — The five lobbyists at Focused Advocacy represent more than 20 Texas cities before the legislature. The firm tracked 3,300 municipal-related bills during this year’s 140-day session, and the walls of its downtown Austin offices are decorated with the framed logos of Austin, El... Read More

Health Care: Still Potent, But More Complicated in 2020 Election Health
Health Care: Still Potent, But More Complicated in 2020 Election

ATLANTA — On a recent sweltering August morning, Congresswoman Lucy McBath headlined a rally extolling the Affordable Care Act’s protections for patients. But the freshman Democrat, who represents a fast-changing swath of Atlanta’s northern suburbs, took care not to mention the 9-year-old law’s name from the... Read More

Classes Without Textbooks? More Colleges Are Giving It a Try Education
Classes Without Textbooks? More Colleges Are Giving It a Try

PHILADELPHIA — When Natalie Flynn surveyed students in her Temple University intro to physical geology classes, she found half weren’t buying the textbook she used. Many couldn’t afford it. “We were developing a very, very uneven playing field in the classroom,” she said. Temple University physical... Read More

Emily Clyburn, Activist and Wife of Rep. Jim Clyburn, Dies at 80 Uncategorized
Emily Clyburn, Activist and Wife of Rep. Jim Clyburn, Dies at 80

WASHINGTON — To those unversed in South Carolina politics and civic life, she was the wife of 58 years to Democrat Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking African American in Congress. To everyone else, she was known, with great reverence, as Ms. Emily — a driving force behind... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top