Many doubt Medicare-for-all would bring universal coverage


Does Medicare-for-all mean that everyone gets health insurance coverage?

Would all U.S. residents be insured under a national health plan?

The public is not convinced that this would be the case, and Republicans are even more skeptical, according to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Less than two-thirds of American adults believe that all U.S. residents would have health insurance under a national health plan, and there is a sizable split between Republicans and Democrats on the issue. Republicans, in fact, were more likely to say that all residents would not have coverage, with less than 49% of people identifying as Republican having answered “no” to the question and 45% having answered “yes”, Kaiser reported in its latest Health Tracking Poll.

Democrats were much more optimistic but not all were certain that all U.S. residents would have health insurance coverage. While 76% of Democrats responded yes when queried about whether all residents would get coverage, 21% answered no to the question. Responses to the question from independents – 61% said yes and 35% said no – very closely reflected the overall vote of 62% yes and 34% no, Kaiser said.

The partisan divide appeared again when respondents were asked if physicians and hospitals would be paid less under a national health plan: 64% of Republicans said payments would be reduced versus 42% of Democrats. Similarly, more than half of Republicans (53%) said that people who buy their own insurance would not be able to keep their current plans, compared with 24% of Democrats, the poll data show.

Those looking for common ground can point to responses regarding a couple of other potential effects of a national health plan. Republicans (57%) and Democrats (52%) largely agreed that private health insurance companies would not be the primary way Americans get health coverage, and they agreed that people would continue to pay deductibles and copays when they used health care services (68% for Republicans, 71% for Democrats), Kaiser said.

The poll was conducted from May 30 to June 4, 2019, and involved responses from 1,206 adults. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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