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Poll: 56 percent of public supports Medicare for All

The Hill logo The Hill 1/23/2019 Peter Sullivan
a group of people holding a sign: Poll: 56 percent of public supports Medicare for All © Getty Images Poll: 56 percent of public supports Medicare for All

A majority of the public supports a single-payer health insurance system, often called Medicare for All, as the idea gains steam among Democrats, according to a new poll.

The poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 56 percent of the public supports a single-payer, Medicare for All plan, compared to 42 percent who oppose the idea.

Progressives are pushing the new Democratic House majority to move forward on the idea, and many Democratic presidential hopefuls have signed onto the idea as well. More centrist Democratic lawmakers remain opposed to the proposal, however.

The poll finds that there are wide swings in support and opposition to the idea depending on how the question is asked.

When people are told that Medicare for All would "guarantee health insurance as a right for all Americans," support shoots up to 71 percent.

But when people are told that the proposal would require "require most Americans to pay more in taxes," support plummets to just 37 percent.

Other slightly less far-reaching proposals have more support than full-out Medicare for All, the poll finds.

For example, 75 percent of the public supports allowing people who don't get insurance through work to buy insurance through Medicaid instead of a private insurer, the poll finds. That includes a majority of Republicans as well, at 64 percent.

The poll highlights how public support for Medicare for All could hinge on how the idea is framed by both sides.

The poll finds that most people (77 percent) are aware that they would have to pay more in taxes to fund a Medicare for All system, but that a majority of people (55 percent) erroneously believe they would be able to keep their current health insurance under a full-scale Medicare for All proposal.

Congressional Democrats are split over whether to focus on simply improving the Affordable Care Act, or being more ambitious and pushing for Medicare for All.

The poll finds more Democrats favor the former approach: 51 percent of Democrats say House Democrats should focus on "improving and protecting the ACA," compared to 38 percent who said they should focus on passing Medicare for All.

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