WASHINGTON – Last week, proponents of new government insurance systems rushed to point to new polling that appears to show Democrats’ apparent support for Medicare for all. But former Democratic Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm says not so fast. Appearing on CNN, Granholm said:
… When you ask people whether they favor Medicare for all, you find out it’s kind of like a Rorschach test. Nobody really knows what it means. 58 percent of Democrats favor Medicare for all, but then you find out that also, only 22 percent of them want to do the full enchilada where you take away people’s private health care.
Previous polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals that “majorities of Americans are unaware of the kind of dramatic changes that [Medicare for all] would bring to the nation’s health care system.” CNN reports that few Americans support Medicare for all once they better understand its consequences, and even most Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents would prefer our elected officials focus instead on improving and building upon what works in American health care.
Another poll conducted earlier this year by Kaiser revealed that support for Medicare for all “drops as low as -44 percentage points” when people find out it would “lead to delays in some people getting some medical tests and treatments,” and “is also negative if people hear it would threaten the current Medicare program (-28 percentage points), require most Americans to pay more in taxes (-23 percentage points), or eliminate private health insurance companies (-21 percentage points).”
The Washington Post confirms this in a recent story headlined “Why 2020 Democrats are backing off Medicare-for-all, in four charts,” that “[p]olls show why they’re doing this. On the surface, the idea sounds as if it would appeal to voters.” But when voters are made aware of the many negative consequences of such a system, including the elimination of private insurance and need for higher taxes, support drops.
The Washington Post previously reported that “Democrats in swing districts are increasingly worried that the outspoken embrace of Medicare-for-all by Bernie Sanders and other top Democratic presidential hopefuls could hurt their chances of keeping the House in 2020,” while The New York Times reports that some Democratic governors are “anxious” and “alarmed that their party’s presidential candidates are embracing policies they see as unrealistic and politically risky. And they are especially concerned about proposals that would eliminate private health insurance.” The Washington Post also noted recently that by “veer[ing] left,” Democratic presidential hopefuls are “leaving behind [the party’s] successful midterm strategy.”
And while some continue to promote the public option as a more “moderate” alternative to Medicare for all, some 2020 contenders and others readily acknowledge such an approach would lead to the same one-size-fits-all government-run system. Voter Vitals – a new quarterly tracking poll conducted nationwide and in 2020 battleground states – finds that “a clear majority of voters nationwide are primed to reject new government-run systems that will cost voters more to expand coverage like Medicare for All, the public option, and Medicare buy-in. Most voters want candidates to lower costs, build on what’s working and fix what’s broken – not start over.” This tracks closely with a recent flash poll conducted by Forbes Tate Partners on behalf of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future (PAHCF) which reveals that voters prioritize improving our current health care system over offering a new government insurance system, often referred to as the “public option.”