A majority of Americans support the concept of Medicare for all, but “larger majorities favor more incremental changes to the health care system,” according to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Support for a Medicare-for-all health care system came in at 56% (strongly favor, 34%; somewhat favor, 22%) among the 1,190 respondents to the latest KFF Health Tracking Poll, which was conducted Jan. 9-14, 2019. That support came largely from Democrats, 81% of whom favored the plan, compared with only 23% of Republicans, the Kaiser investigators said Jan. 23.
A Medicare buy-in plan for Americans aged 50-64 years also was highly popular, receiving support from 77% of all respondents – 85% of Democrats, 75% of Independents, and 69% of Republicans. Support by party identification was similar for a proposal to enable all those who don’t have employer-based insurance to get coverage through state Medicaid programs, which received 75% support overall, they reported.
Just behind those proposals at 74% support was a federally administered health plan that would be open to anyone but would allow people to keep the coverage they have. It was the most popular proposal among Democrats (91%) but did not garner a majority among Republicans (47%), the investigators said.
Support for the Medicare-for-all plan varied considerably, depending on number of arguments presented to respondents. When told that such a proposal would guarantee insurance as a right for all Americans, 71% favored it, and when they heard that it would eliminate health insurance premiums and reduce out-of-pockets costs, 67% of respondents expressed support. Favorable responses, however, were in the minority when people were told that Medicare-for-all would eliminate private health insurance companies (37%), threaten the current Medicare program (32%), and lead to some delayed medical tests and treatments (26%), according to the Kaiser report.