Nov 6, 2019

Medicare for All's popularity may have peaked

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Adapted from Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

Public support for Medicare for All might have peaked, but it’s still a powerful idea among many Democrats.

By the numbers: Support for the national health plan rose from around 40% in 2000 to a high of 59% in March of 2018, but had slipped back to 51% by October of this year.

That's still a majority, but it’s narrow and headed in the wrong direction. And polling shows that support drops much further, and opposition rises, when people hear some of the most common arguments against Medicare for All.

Between the lines: Critics, debate moderators and the media have focused largely on two unpopular tradeoffs in a Medicare for All plan: the large number of Americans who would have to give up their private coverage; and the likelihood of a middle class tax hike to finance the plan.

  • · Sen. Elizabeth Warren took great pains to avoid one of those criticisms in crafting her financing plan, which does not include a tax hike for the middle class, but certainly includes other potential landmines.
  • Much less attention has been given to potential upsides, such as eliminating out-of-pocket costs, achieving universal coverage, or reducing the complexity of the health care system.

A public option, Medicare buy-in and other more incremental, voluntary and less expensive plans that are more difficult to make look threatening are more popular than Medicare for All.

Yes but: Support for Medicare for All is still strong among Democrats at 71%, so it remains an effective rallying cry for progressive Democrats in the primary.

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Warren's path to Medicare for All is rocky

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's two-part plan to pass a public option as a transition into Medicare for All — and then full-blown Medicare for All a few years later — has revealed the difficulty of appealing to both the pragmatic and progressive wings of the party.

The big picture: Warren's already being criticized by progressives for not being a Medicare for All purist, and because of the realities of governing, they may have a point: Passing two major health reforms in one term is unheard of.

Go deeperArrowNov 18, 2019

Moderate muscle rises against Dems’ 2020 left

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The early boom for 2020 Democrats' left turn is yielding to moderate muscle as Elizabeth Warren falls, Joe Biden persists and Pete Buttigieg rises.

  • What's happening: Poll after poll shows voters like the idea of Medicare for All. But the second you tell them about costs and tradeoffs, they turn on it.
  • Why it matters: A harsh spotlight on Warren's specifics collided with Mike Bloomberg's massive spending on a moderate message, as well as rising angst among donors and investors about risks of Warren-Sanders socialism.
Go deeperArrowNov 29, 2019

Elizabeth Warren reveals Medicare for All roadmap

Elizabeth Warren. Photo: Sarah Rice/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign on Friday unveiled what would be her roadmap for overhauling the country's health care system if elected, carving out an initial public option with the promise of implementing 'Medicare for All' within her first three years in office.

Why it matters: The plan gives Warren a defense against criticism that she would abruptly strip away Americans' ability to choose their care and force them off private insurance.

Go deeperArrowNov 15, 2019