Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vermont) Medicare for All bill appears to be popular with a wide swath of Americans — apparently even viewers of Fox & Friends.
On Monday, Fox & Friends — which President Trump has openly declared is “the best show and the absolute most honest show” — conducted an online poll asking its more than one million Twitter followers about Sanders’ bill expanding Medicare to all Americans if “the benefits outweigh the costs,” given its estimated $32.6 trillion price tag.
More than two-thirds of the 31,650 people who responded to the poll said that yes, the benefits do outweigh the costs.
Bernie Sanders' 'Medicare for all' bill estimated to cost $32.6 trillion, new study says. Would the benefits outweigh the costs?
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) July 31, 2018
The $32.6 trillion number comes from a recent study conducted by the Charles Koch Foundation-funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Researcher Charles Blahous determined that if the U.S. were to expand Medicare to all of its citizens as Sen. Sanders has suggested, such a program would require $32.6 trillion over the next ten years in new federal health expenditures.
However, as Grit Post reported, that’s more than $2 trillion less than our current healthcare system costs over the same ten-year period. Current national health expenditures — the cost every American pays in health insurance premiums, deductibles, copays, and various administrative costs — amount to about $3.5 trillion annually, or $35 trillion over ten years. And that number is expected to increase by an average of 5.5 percent each year, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Even if Americans had to pay higher taxes to fund a universal healthcare system, most households would still see a net savings given the money saved on not having to pay the numerous out-of-pocket expenses that come with our current healthcare system. Sen. Sanders retweeted Fox & Friends’ poll, suggesting the poll was proof that most Americans are ready to see healthcare as a fundamental right.
No matter what Fox News comes up with to try to discredit Medicare for all, a majority of the American people have made it clear time and time again that we should join every other major country and make health care a right. pic.twitter.com/YBtTdToubM
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 2, 2018
Sanders may be right in his assessment of Americans’ perception of universal healthcare. Online policy researchers at Data for Progress analyzed data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and found that Medicare for All had widespread popularity, even in rural America, in almost all states where Democratic senators are seeking re-election in November. Support for the policy was most popular among young voters, people of color, and low-income residents, according to The Washington Post.
There were 1,202 respondents in the survey Data for Progress used to calculate Medicare for All’s support, and the rest of the number crunching focused on voter engagement on the issue. Support for the policy was highest among voters ages 18 to 29 (above 60 percent), black voters (above 75 percent) and voters making less than $20,000 (above 65 percent); it was lowest among white voters and voters making more than $100,000.
As the Post pointed out, the data may or may not be reliable, as support Medicare for All as a policy platform has yet to be tested at the macro level. However, 28-year-old political neophyte Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez managed to defeat longtime incumbent Joe Crowley in the NY-14 Democratic primary by running on a platform of Medicare for All. And after August 7, Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed and Missouri Congressional candidate Cori Bush may end up proving that support for the policy is strong even in the Midwest if they win their primaries.
Logan Espinoza is a freelance contributor specializing in economic issues. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Contact him at logan DOT espinoza AT yahoo DOT com.