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People will give up private insurance if they can keep their doctors and hospitals

July 2, 2019

Topics: Quote of the Day

Reduced support for single-payer overcome by assurance that Americans would not lose their doctor and hospital

By Yusra Murad
Morning Consult, July 2, 2019

Though the dividing line between Democratic presidential candidates on “Medicare for All” concerns the elimination of the private insurance market, new Morning Consult data suggests that anxiety among voters may be misplaced fear about losing their providers rather than their private plans.

According to a Morning Consult/Politico survey conducted after the first Democratic presidential primary debates, support among voters for Medicare for All falls to 46 percent from 53 percent when respondents are told the government-run health system would diminish the role of private insurers — but rises back to 55 percent when voters learn that losing their private plans would still allow them to keep their preferred doctors and hospitals.

“These numbers only affirm what the senator has said many times: people don’t like insurance companies, they like their doctors and their hospitals,” Sanders’ campaign said of the data in an email to Morning Consult. “Despite what the pharmaceutical and insurance industries will tell you, Medicare for All is the only proposal that gives Americans the freedom to control their own futures — change jobs, start a family, start a business — and keep their doctor.”

Several polls have demonstrated that support for Medicare for All plummets when Americans learn the system would replace employer-sponsored coverage with one sweeping plan, forcing single-payer supporters to go on the defensive to alleviate concerns from voters. But as candidates attempt to persuade voters that Medicare for All would not require diminishing the role of private insurers — further adding to confusion among the electorate about what exactly the system would entail — the new data suggests that the consequences of that argument can be mitigated by clarifying that losing private insurers would not affect access to preferred providers.

The June 29-July 1 survey of 1,472 voters found that explanation to be especially effective in quelling skepticism among Democrats and independents. Among independents, 56 percent back a Medicare for All system that nixes the private market but allows people to keep their doctors — a 14-point increase over the share that only hears about the diminished role of private insurers. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Previous Morning Consult polling has also indicated Americans who are against Medicare for All on the grounds that it would reduce the role of insurance companies may be inadvertently conflating their payers and providers. Among adults who said they opposed the system, 62 percent said they are more likely to support the plan if they could keep their doctors and hospitals.

https://morningconsult.com…


National Tracking Poll #190675

Morning Consult + Politico, June 29 – July 1, 2019

Do you support or oppose a ’Medicare for All’ health care system, where all Americans would get their health insurance from the government?

53% – Support
30% – Strongly support
23% – Somewhat support
36% – Oppose
13% – Somewhat oppose
23% – Strongly oppose
11% – Don’t know/No opinion

Do you support or oppose the public health insurance option, a system in which Americans can choose to purchase medical coverage either entirely from a federally-run health program, entirely from private insurers, or a combination of both?

68% – Support
33% – Strongly support
35% – Somewhat support
17% – Oppose
9% – Somewhat oppose
8% – Strongly oppose
16% – Don’t know/No opinion

Do you support or oppose the 2010 Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare?

48% – Support
24% – Strongly support
24% – Somewhat support
41% – Oppose
11% – Somewhat oppose
30% – Strongly oppose
10% – Don’t know/No opinion

As you may know, during the Democratic presidential primary debates some candidates advocated for installing a ’Medicare for All’ system that would diminish the role of private insurers. Would you support or oppose ’Medicare for All’ if it diminished the role of private insurers?

46% – Support
24% – Strongly support
22% – Somewhat support
35% – Oppose
9% – Somewhat oppose
26% – Strongly oppose
18% – Don’t know/No opinion

As you may know, during the Democratic presidential primary debates some candidates advocated for installing a ’Medicare for All’ that would diminish the role of private insurers but allow people to keep their preferred doctor and hospital. Would you support or oppose ’Medicare for All’ if it diminished the role of private insurers but allowed you to keep your preferred doctor and hospital?

55% – Support
31% – Strongly support
24% – Somewhat support
31% – Oppose
9% – Somewhat oppose
22% – Strongly oppose
14% – Don’t know/No opinion

https://morningconsult.com…


Comment:

By Don McCanne, M.D.

It appears that when individuals polled are told that they would lose their private insurance if a Medicare for All were enacted, they may have conflated that with losing their doctors and hospitals. This poll removed that confusion: “… support among voters for Medicare for All falls to 46 percent from 53 percent when respondents are told the government-run health system would diminish the role of private insurers — but rises back to 55 percent when voters learn that losing their private plans would still allow them to keep their preferred doctors and hospitals.”

So the message that we have to pound home until it becomes a meme: Under Medicare for All you can always keep the same doctors and hospitals, but you would lose that freedom of choice under private insurers and their restricted provider networks.

Stay informed! Visit www.pnhp.org/qotd to sign up for daily email updates.

About the Commentator, Don McCanne

Don McCanne is a retired family practitioner who dedicated the 2nd phase of his career to speaking and writing extensively on single payer and related issues. He served as Physicians for a National Health Program president in 2002 and 2003, then as Senior Health Policy Fellow. For two decades, Don wrote "Quote of the Day", a daily health policy update which inspired HJM.

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