4. Workers unsure Medicare for All would raise wages
Advocates of a single-payer system may have a hard time persuading workers that their wages would go up if their employer-based health care went away, the Kaiser Family Foundation's Drew Altman writes in today's column.
Why it matters: "Medicare for All" would bring an enormous amount of change to the health system, and the disruption of employer-based insurance is already an important political flashpoint.
"For a socialist, you've got a lot more confidence in corporate America than I do," former Vice President Joe Biden said to Sen. Bernie Sanders at last week's Democratic debate, in response to Sanders' assurances that employers would raise wages if they were no longer paying for health benefits.
By the numbers: Sanders' view is an article of faith among most economists, but a majority of Americans aren't so sure.
- In a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 63% of people surveyed said they thought their wages would stay the same if their employers' health costs went down; another 5% weren’t sure.
- Just 32% said they thought their wages would go up.
Between the lines: It's likely true that employers would reap big savings if the government took insurance off their hands, and that many would funnel those savings back into wages.
- It's just that workers don't necessarily believe those savings will end up in their paychecks, creating an additional challenge for selling Medicare for All.
The bottom line: One big knock on "Medicare for All" is voters' distrust of government. But distrust of employers could matter, too.