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NBC/WSJ poll on Medicare for All and Medicare option

September 24, 2019

Topics: Quote of the Day

Hart Research Associates/Public Opinion Strategies
NBC News/Wall Street Journal Survey, September 13-16, 2019

Q16: From what you know, do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose each of the following proposals?

Percentage who say strongly or somewhat support:

Data shown among registered voters:

67% – Allowing people under the age of 65 the option to buy their health coverage through the Medicare program just like one might buy private insurance

41% – Adopting Medicare for All, a single payer health care system in which private health insurance would be eliminated and all Americans would get their health coverage from one government plan

43% – Eliminating the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare

36% – Providing government health care to undocumented immigrants

Data shown among Democratic primary voters:

78% – Allowing people under the age of 65 the option to buy their health coverage through the Medicare program just like one might buy private insurance

63% – Adopting Medicare for All, a single payer health care system in which private health insurance would be eliminated and all Americans would get their health coverage from one government plan

16% – Eliminating the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare

64% – Providing government health care to undocumented immigrants

https://www.documentcloud.org…


Comment:

By Don McCanne, M.D.

The latest NBC/WSJ poll has been reported widely this past week as showing that Americans support expanding Medicare but not eliminating private health insurance. The actual poll shows that 67% of registered voters support being allowed to buy health coverage through the Medicare program, but only 41% prefer the adoption of single payer Medicare for All knowing that private insurance would be eliminated. The support among Democratic primary voters is greater for both options – 78% support a Medicare buy-in and 63% support single payer Medicare for All with elimination of private insurance. This does not seem to represent much of a shift in voter opinion even if reported as such.

Confusing the picture is that only 16% of Democratic voters support eliminating the Affordable Care Act. If most of the remaining 84% support continuation of ACA then that suggests that they do not support single payer, a view inconsistent with 63% support for single payer Medicare for All. Although about one-third of registered voters support providing government health care to undocumented immigrants, closer to two-thirds of Democratic voters do, suggesting that they have a greater sensitivity to issues of health care justice.

In general, I would say that we have much more work to do to educate not only the public but the media (including the pollsters!) on the profound differences in the single payer model of Medicare for All and Medicare as one component of our fragmented, dysfunctional system of financing health care. One is effective, efficient, equitable, affordable, and truly universal, and the other is not.

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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