Democratic candidates in the midterm elections, and many of the party’s top 2020 prospects, have endorsed “Medicare for All,” but have significantly differing views of what that policy should actually look like. Turns out, the public is in pretty much the same situation.
In our latest Axios/SurveyMonkey poll, we asked respondents two related questions: What they think candidates mean by “Medicare for All” and what they want that policy to mean, if they support it at all.
By the numbers: Overall, 52% of those surveyed said they think “Medicare for All” refers to a single, government-run health care program covering everyone.
- Republicans were more confident in that assessment than Democrats: 61% of Republicans said "Medicare for All" is single-payer, compared with 51% of Democrats.
- A plurality of independents — 42% — said they don’t think candidates are talking either single-payer or an optional program that would compete with private insurance.
Voters were more divided over what they want “Medicare for All” to be, given the same choices.
- 34% said they would favor a single-payer system; 33% said they would prefer an optional public plan alongside private insurance; 30% wanted neither.
- Unsurprisingly, Democrats were far more open to a single-payer system than Republicans and independents.
The bottom line: Add it all up, and most people — 67% — seem to be on board with either single-payer or a public option, suggesting that “Medicare for All” is popular, but that's partly because of its multiple meanings.
My thought bubble: In the midterms, there are so many candidates running for so many offices, it’s no surprise they’re able to describe different policies under one banner.
- The 2020 Democratic primary will be far more effective in organizing Democrats around a shared sense of what does or doesn’t qualify as “Medicare for All.”