WASHINGTON – As 2020 presidential hopefuls continue to push various government-run health insurance plans, Gene Lyons, a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, warns Democrats to steer clear of proposals like Medicare for all, calling it “an excellent way for Democrats to lose in 2020.” He writes:
Whether proposed by [Sen. Elizabeth Warren], [Sen. Bernie] Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris or Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Medicare-for-All is a dead-bang loser. Polls show that even strong majorities of Democratic voters are resistant … Colorado put a Bernie-backed single-payer proposal on the ballot in 2016. It was rejected 80% to 20%.
Lyons joins columnists and editorial boards throughout the nation – including The Washington Post, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal – who have warned of the political and practical dangers of Medicare for all. Polling has shown that most Americans oppose Medicare for all once they know what it is, and most Democratic voters favor strengthening the Affordable Care Act over pursuing Medicare for all. A national poll conducted earlier this year by the Kaiser Family Foundation 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).”
And while some candidates push the so-called “public option” as a moderate alternative to Medicare for all, 2020 contenders and others acknowledge such an approach would lead to the same one-size-fits-all government-run system, while a new study by Navigant finds that the public option “could place as many as 55% of rural hospitals, or 1,037 hospitals across 46 states, at high risk of closure.”
The first edition of Voter Vitals – a new quarterly tracking poll conducted nationwide and in 2020 battleground states – finds that “[h]ealth care will be the defining issue of the 2020 presidential election. However, 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 recent polling conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which finds that the majority of Americans, including Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, want our elected officials to build and improve upon on our current system.
As Scott Serota, president and chief executive officer of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, writes for CNN: “Everyone should have access to health care, no matter who you are or where you live. To achieve this, we need to implement common-sense solutions that protect people with pre-existing conditions, expand access to coverage and care—and lower costs for everyone. How do we do that? The Affordable Care Act provides the framework.”