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Expand chart
Data: Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll of 1,190 U.S. adults, Jan. 9–14. Margin of error ±3 percentage points; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Democrats’ 2020 primary has begun, and that means the battle to define "Medicare for All" isn’t far behind. The Kaiser Family Foundation's latest polling offers a couple of key data points to help inform that debate.

The big picture: More modest plans are more popular. Every version of expanded public health insurance broke 50% in the Kaiser poll.

  • An optional Medicare buy-in limited to people over 50 — pretty much the most limited idea on the table — was the most popular, at 77% favorability.
  • Full-scale single-payer brought up the rear at 56%.

People are persuadable. A national health plan started out at 56% favorability.

  • When pollsters read people talking points in favor of such a bill — that it would cover everyone, and that it would eliminate insurance premiums — support went higher.
  • But when people heard talking points against the idea — that it would eliminate private insurance or require tax increases — support fell.

One more warning sign for advocates aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders' sweeping plan: 55% said they believe "Medicare for All" would allow them to keep their existing plans, and a 39% plurality said they didn't think it would affect them very much, for better or worse.

  • Proposals like Sanders' would move everyone into a single plan, which by definition affects everyone. And as we learned with the ACA, selling the public on even a relatively small change can be hard.

What Democrats want: A plurality of Democrats said their top priority is safeguarding the ACA, but "implementing a national Medicare-for-All plan" came in second, tied with reducing drug costs.

  • Republicans and the health care industry will oppose any of the specific proposals floating under the "Medicare for All" banner.

G0 deeper: What "Medicare for All" could look like

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

10 hours ago - Economy & Business

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 12 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.

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