Poll: Voters demand choice — oppose Medicare for all

American voters dealt Democrats a reality check on the issue of a single-payer Medicare-for-All system.

More than half of voters questioned about the plan to replace existing private insurance, which is touted by 2020 Democratic contenders Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, are opposed to the idea according to not one, but two recent polls.

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Democrat voters seem to be on board with a Medicare-for-All style plan according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll that indicates that almost two-thirds of them would support it. But among the general voter population in the poll conducted Sept. 13-16, with 900 registered voters nationwide, the progressive proposal is far from popular. About 56 percent of those surveyed indicated they would not support such a plan.

While only 41 percent of all voters polled agreed with a single-payer plan, nearly two-thirds responded favorably to a Medicare buy-in for anyone under 65 years old – an option being put on the table by former Vice President Joe Biden, who also backs the Affordable Care Act and supported reinstating the individual mandate.

Democratic 2020 hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris of California does support a Medicare-for-All version but includes a part for private insurers as well in her proposal.

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A buy-in plan for the taxpayer-funded program, which currently provides medical coverage for Americans 65 and older, is supported by 83 percent of Democratic primary voters in a separate Fox News national poll.  Republican voters in that same poll, conducted Sept. 15-17 with 1,008 registered voters, also agreed with just over half – 51 percent – saying they would support a Medicare buy-in plan.

The Fox News poll released last week also found that 68 percent of all voters were in favor of a buy-in system while only 46 percent of them supported a Medicare-for-All plan.

Another health care divide could be seen in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll between 64 percent of Democratic primary voters who said they would support government health care to illegal immigrants, while only 36 percent of all registered voters were in favor.

Democrats continue to push for some sort of government-run health care, despite its lack of appeal to millions of American voters who would have to leave their current private insurance plans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also does not agree with a single-payer health care system, telling NPR that the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is the option the 2020 candidates should be touting.

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“This is complicated to put together health care for as many Americans as possible. Our goal for all of us, including those presidential candidates, is to have health care for all Americans — affordable, accessible, quality health care for all Americans,” she said. “We believe that the path of the Affordable Care Act is the way to go, so I do believe that if you want to have whatever they are calling their plan — Medicare for all, whatever it is — the path to it is the Affordable Care Act.”

“I am with you as an advocate,” the California Democrat added. “But as a member of Congress needing to get results for the American people, let’s take a path that takes us quickest and best and strongest to affordable care for all Americans.”

“I salute them if that is what they believe, I bless them for that, but that was, I think, not the practical path to get something done,” Pelosi said. “And I can say to them all of these issues, single-payer and all that, I have those signs in my basement from 30 years ago.”

Frieda Powers

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