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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
37 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Higher education expands its climate push

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New or expanded climate initiatives are popping up at several universities, a sign of the topic's rising prominence and recognition of the threats and opportunities it creates.

Why it matters: Climate and clean energy initiatives at colleges and universities are nothing new, but it shows expanded an campus focus as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and the world is nowhere near the steep emissions cuts that scientists say are needed to hold future warming in check.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The pandemic isn't slowing tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Thursday's deluge of Big Tech earnings reports showed one thing pretty clearly: COVID-19 may be bad in all sorts of ways, but it's not slowing down the largest tech companies. If anything, it's helping some companies, like Amazon and Apple.

Yes, but: With the pandemic once again worsening in the U.S. and Europe, it's not clear how long the tech industry's winning streak can last.

Texas early voting surpasses 2016's total turnout

Early voting in Austin earlier this month. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Texas' early and mail-in voting totals for the 2020 election have surpassed the state's total voter turnout in 2016, with 9,009,850 ballots already cast compared to 8,969,226 in the last presidential cycle.

Why it matters: The state's 38 Electoral College votes are in play — and could deliver a knockout blow for Joe Biden over President Trump — despite the fact that it hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976.

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