Kaiser Poll Finds Declining Support For Medicare For All
WASHINGTON – As Democratic presidential hopefuls take the debate stage this week, a new national poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that support for Medicare for all is on the decline, as “a larger share of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents would prefer lawmakers build on the existing ACA” and “the share of Democrats who now say they ‘strongly favor’ a national Medicare-for-all plan is down” 12 percentage points in the three months since Kaiser last asked the question.
And as candidates promote plans that would eliminate Americans’ existing health coverage, the poll notably finds that 86 percent of adults with employer-provided coverage rate their coverage as “good” or “excellent.”
Meanwhile, as CNN reports, the poll finds that views regarding a new government insurance program, called the “public option,” “can swing wildly depending on what additional information people receive … [S]upport wanes if people hear that doctors and hospitals would be paid less or that a public option would lead to too much government involvement in health care.”
Examining the impacts of the “public option” in a story headlined “How a Medicare Buy-In or Public Option Could Threaten Obamacare,” The New York Times reports that “a public option may well threaten the A.C.A. in unexpected ways.”
A government plan, even a Medicare buy-in, could shrink the number of customers buying policies on the Obamacare markets, making them less appealing for leading insurers, according to many health insurers, policy analysts and even some Democrats … [A] buy-in shift in insurance coverage could profoundly unsettle the nation’s private health sector, which makes up almost a fifth of the United States economy. Depending on who is allowed to sign up for the plan, it could also rock the employer-based system that now covers some 160 million Americans … Siphoning off such a large group of customers could also lead to a 10 percent increase in premiums for the remaining pool of insured people, according to the Blue Cross analysis. More younger people with expensive medical conditions have enrolled than insurers expected, and insurers would have to increase premiums to cover their costs, Mr. Haltmeyer said. Tricia Neuman, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which studies insurance markets, said a government buy-in that attracted older Americans could indeed raise premiums for those who remained in the A.C.A. markets, especially if those consumers had high medical costs … Dr. David Blumenthal, the president of the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation that funds health care research, said a government plan that attracted people with expensive conditions could prove costly. “You might, as a taxpayer, become concerned that they would be more like high-risk pools,” he said.
Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports that “[g]overnment surveys show that about 90% of the population has coverage, largely preserving gains from President Barack Obama’s years. Independent experts estimate that more than one-half of the roughly 30 million uninsured people in the country are eligible for health insurance through existing programs.”