Medicare for All has more support from Republican voters than from Senate Democrats, when breaking it down by percentages.
A recent poll from Hill TV (a subsidiary of The Hill) and the HarrisX polling company found that 52 percent of Republican respondents approved of making Medicare available to all Americans, compared to 48 percent opposed. Among those Republicans, 25 percent said they “strongly” supported the idea, and 27 percent said they were “somewhat” in support.
These results are consistent with a Reuters survey from July, which also found that 70 percent of Americans and 51 percent of Republicans were in favor of Medicare for All. Among Democrats, the numbers were even higher, with 84.5 percent of respondents affiliated with the Democratic Party favoring the expansion of Medicare to all people.
While majorities of both Democrats and Republicans support Medicare for All, the percentage of Senate Democrats that have actually co-sponsored Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vermont) Medicare for All bill is comparatively low. As of this writing, there are only 16 co-sponsors on the bill Sanders filed last year. Even when accounting for Sanders as the author, only 17 Democrats (and independents who caucus with Democrats) out of a total of 49 Senate Democrats support the bill. That means only 34.6 percent of Senate Democrats support something that 84 percent of Democratic voters and 52 percent of Republican voters support.
The rate of Democratic support of Medicare for All is a little higher among House candidates. USA Today reported Tuesday that roughly half of Democrats running for U.S. House seats back universal healthcare. The paper also reported that approximately two-thirds of the 193 Democrats in the House of Representatives have co-sponsored a Medicare for All bill filed in that chamber. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California), however, is not one of them.
Healthcare has consistently polled as the #1 issue voters are motivated by in this year’s midterm elections. Following the passage of the Republican tax bill last year, which repealed the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), healthcare premiums spiked by as much as 30 percent.
After their plan to repeal Obamacare failed, Republicans have since tried to push for so-called “junk insurance” policies that don’t cover pre-existing conditions (a requirement of all plans under Obamacare) carry for three years, instead of its previous short-term limits. Earlier this month, Senate Republicans killed a Democratic-sponsored bill that would have reversed a Trump administration regulation allowing for the proliferation of junk insurance plans — effectively making pre-existing coverage optional for insurers again.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.