Mar 2, 2020 - Health

Even supporters may not understand Medicare for All

Data: Kaiser Family Foundation Tracking Poll; Note: ±3 percentage points margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: Kaiser Family Foundation Tracking Poll; Note: ±3 percentage points margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Even many supporters of Medicare for All don’t necessarily know how it would work.

The big picture: That doesn’t necessarily mean more information will turn supporters into opponents, but it shows that we’re still at an early stage in this debate, in which opinions about Medicare for All are often reflections of broader political alliances, not the details of a plan.

By the numbers: In our January tracking poll, more than half (59%) of Medicare for All supporters didn’t think Medicare for All would require people to give up their employer-based insurance; 34% knew it would.

  • Democrats have learned more about the plan over the course of the party’s primary — 41% now know that people with employer coverage couldn’t keep it, up from 25% in June.

The big picture: People's opinions are still malleable.

  • Majority support for Medicare for All flips to majority opposition — 58% — if people think it would eliminate private coverage. And opposition rises to 70% if people think Medicare for All would lead to delays in care.
  • But support rises to 67% if people hear that Medicare for All would eliminate premiums and deductibles, and to 71% if they hear it would "make health care a right."

My thought bubble: Campaigns and the media are heavily invested in these differences among Democrats’ competing health care plans, but the public’s flexible opinions and lack of knowledge are a reminder that a lot of this is about signaling priorities, rather than adherence to a specific plan.

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