- Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images
- The luster of “Medicare for All,” the healthcare plan advanced by progressives such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is starting to fade.
- According to a new poll, 43% of Americans think Medicare for All is a good idea, while 45% said it is a bad idea.
- Fifty-one percent of people said it was a good idea in August 2017, while 38% said it was a bad idea.
- But a Medicare buy-in option, which has been advanced by more moderate Democrats, is much more popular.
- Fifty-one percent of people surveyed supported that idea, while just 30% were against it.
Americans are starting to cool on the idea of “Medicare for All,” but there is a more moderate Democratic proposal that still captures the public’s attention, according to a new poll.
A Quinnipiac University poll found that support for the Medicare for All idea, which has been advanced by progressives such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has slipped substantially over the last year and a half.
In August 2017, 51% of Americans thought Medicare for All was a “good idea,” while just 38% thought it was a “bad idea.” In the poll released on Tuesday, the percentage of Americans calling Medicare for All a “good idea” was down to 43%, while 45% said it was a “bad idea.”
Medicare for All would eliminate private insurance and enroll all Americans in the government’s healthcare program. While the idea would drive up the government’s spending, advocates say that the savings for average people – who would no longer have to pay insurance premiums – and the streamlining of the healthcare system would result in savings for the healthcare system as a whole.
While Medicare for All may be declining in popularity, another healthcare reform advanced by Democrats still remains popular.
A Medicare buy-in, in which people could either keep their private insurance or choose to shift to the government’s Medicare program, actually attracted support from a majority of people.
Fifty-one percent of Americans said the buy-in option was a “good idea,” while just 30% said it is a “bad idea.”
The Medicare buy-in drew much more support among Democrats and independents, but even a plurality of self-described Republicans liked the idea. Forty-three percent said it was a “good idea,” while 39% said the buy-in was a “bad idea.”
A number of more moderate Democrats, including 2020 presidential candidates such as Beto O’Rourke, have pushed for a Medicare buy-in plan. Others have suggested that the US should lower the age at which people qualify for Medicare to 50 from the standard of 65.
While the Quinnipiac poll does not give reasons for the fall in the popularity of Medicare for All, there are a number of factors that could be in play. For one thing, the increased visibility of Medicare for All – which has gone from a fringe solution to part of the political mainstream – could have exposed more people to the specifics of the idea.
Additionally, many Democrats were vague about their meaning of Medicare for All – sometimes combining the idea with the Medicare buy-in. As those terms get more well-defined, it appears most people are gravitating toward the less extreme option.