Feb 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

40% of Iowa caucusgoers said health care was their top priority

Bernie Sanders at his caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Iowa Democrats reported Monday that their biggest priorities were beating President Trump and health care — but the meltdown of their election reporting systems left their presidential choices unresolved.

Why it matters: We've been writing for months that Democrats have a major choice ahead, either picking an advocate of Medicare for All — and siding with the plan that's less popular with the rest of the country — or a public option advocate.

  • The Iowa debacle means the path the party will take won't be clear for a while longer.

By the numbers: Several polls — including ones by NBC News, the National Exit Poll and AP Votecast — found that around four in 10 caucus voters said health care was their top issue.

  • Previous polling has found that Medicare for All is less popular overall than a public option, but both were popular among Democratic caucus-goers last night.
  • Seven in 10 said they back a single-payer plan, and almost nine in 10 said they support a public option, per AP Votecast, which was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for The Associated Press and Fox News.

Yes, but: Caucus-goers said they prefer a Democratic candidate who can beat Trump over one that agrees with them on issues, CNN reports.

The big picture: Republicans are more than happy to talk about Medicare for All — and its subsequent tax increases and expanded government role in health care — instead of protecting and building on the Affordable Care Act.

  • Whereas the former gives them an opportunity to go on offense, the latter puts the GOP on defense against its 2017 repeal-and-replace efforts and ongoing lawsuit that would strike down the whole health care law, including its protections for pre-existing conditions.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

What Iowa and New Hampshire tell us about Medicare for All

Reproduced from Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

Health care was voters’ top issue in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and it benefitted Sen. Bernie Sanders as well as his more moderate rivals.

The big picture: Sanders has emerged as a national front-runner thanks in part to a base that’s deeply committed to his Medicare for All plan, even as polling data indicate that more moderate ideas like a public option have a broader base of support.

Go deeperArrowFeb 14, 2020 - Health

State of the Union previews 2020's pre-existing conditions fight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump claimed last night during the State of the Union that he will "always protect patients with pre-existing conditions" — a statement that's misleading at best.

Why it matters: Pre-existing conditions protections are popular, and both parties are trying to claim credit for them. But only one of the parties has a track record of defending those protections, and it's not the GOP.

Go deeperArrowFeb 5, 2020 - Health

Iowa caucusgoers view climate change as key issue

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ahead of the Iowa caucus on Monday, polling showed "about four in 10 ranked health care as the most important issue facing the country, while three in 10 identified climate change as the top," AP reports.

The state of play: That's one of the results from polling conducted for several days before the event for AP and Fox News by a University of Chicago research group.