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The public needs more information on single payer Medicare for All

September 27, 2019

Topics: Quote of the Day

By Sara R. Collins and Munira Z. Gunja
The Commonwealth Fund, September 2019

Replacing private insurance with public insurance like Medicare does not have strong support, but many need more information.

Q: Would you favor or oppose eliminating all private health insurance and making public insurance like Medicare the ONLY health insurance option for everyone, or do you not know enough about this to say?

27% – Strongly/somewhat favor
32% – Strongly/somewhat oppose
40% – Don’t know enough to say

12% – Strongly/somewhat favor
60% – Strongly/somewhat oppose
27% – Don’t know enough to say

43% – Strongly/somewhat favor
15% – Strongly/somewhat oppose
41% – Don’t know enough to say

27% – Strongly/somewhat favor
34% – Strongly/somewhat oppose
38% – Don’t know enough to say

From the Conclusion

Our survey indicates that much of the public currently needs more information before supporting a Medicare-for-all approach.



By Don McCanne, M.D.

This survey question emphasized “eliminating all private health insurance” while making “public insurance like Medicare the ONLY health insurance option.” But the question is somewhat unique in that it also specifically asked if respondents did “not know enough about this to say.”

To no surprise, a significant number agreed that they did not know enough to say. Only Republicans had strong views, and they are opposed, although in my experience, Republicans are even less well informed on the single payer model of Medicare for All; they just don’t seem to know it. Their understanding is more in terms of libertarian ideology than it is in terms of actual health policy.

The important lesson is that we have to do a much better job in communicating the beneficial policy features of single payer Medicare for All. They want to hear how health care can be made more affordable, and we have the answers.

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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