U.S. Voters Prefer Expanding Medicare Over New Single-Payer Health Care, Says New Poll

March 27, 2019, 1:32 PM UTC

A big question in a lead up to the 2020 presidential election is whether the U.S. should move from its current insurance system-driven health care model to a single-payer concept. Multiple Democratic candidates for president as well as new arrivals on Capitol Hill have pushed for a version of single-payer or Medicare-for-All. Health insurer stocks took a tumble when a Medicare-for-All bill was introduced, making it clear investors, fearing for insurance companies’ revenues, weren’t fans.

Then again, many voters aren’t either—depending on how they’re asked—according to the latest national poll from Quinnipiac University.

People were in favor 55% to 32% of improving the current health care system instead of replacing it with something new. But when asked whether to remove the current system and replace it with single-payer through an expansion of Medicare to cover all citizens, 43% called it a “good idea” while 45% said it was a “bad idea.” By political party, 69% of Democrats and 42% of independents supported it while only 14% of Republicans did.

When asked instead whether to keep the current system and then allow any adult who wanted to buy into Medicare, 51% were in favor overall, with 30% opposed. Supporting the concept were 61% of Democrats, 49% of independents, and 43% of Republicans.

Getting any variation through Congress would be an enormous challenge, as Axios reported. Even a Medicare expansion limited to those 50 and older would cause a big negative response from the industry.

The result also show the danger of the renewed Republican attempt to end the affordable care act, as the Trump administration has asked a federal appeals court to invalidate the law.

However, to do so would effectively be ending the current form of health care, with nothing that would clearly replace it, making the topic a continued danger to the GOP.