A New York Times survey released Sunday found more 2020 Democrats presidential candidates favor a public health insurance option over a single-payer Medicare for All program.
The Times surveyed the 2020 Democrat presidential Democrats and found that 11 Democrat presidential candidates, including frontrunner and former Vice President Joe Biden, back a public option, compared to seven Democrats that back Medicare for All, and one candidate that favors marginal fixes to Obamacare.
A public option would allow some or all Americans to receive government healthcare while keeping private health insurance for those who prefer that form of health coverage compared to a government option.
The poll serves as a striking contrast between the more progressive Democrat candidates such as Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who both support Medicare for All and the more moderate candidates who wish to keep private health insurance while offering a government health insurance option.
Further, the poll showcases the Democrats’ leftward slide on health care, as a public option was considered too radical to include in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. However, a public option now serves as a more moderate option compared to Sanders’ Medicare for All plan, which would eliminate all private health insurance in favor of a government-run program.
Embracing a public option also opens Democrats to less criticism compared to endorsing a Medicare for All option.
Sanders recently claimed that “a lot of people in the country would be delighted to pay more in taxes” to get Medicare for All, despite polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation which revealed that 60 percent of Americans would oppose the single-payer plan if it were to require most Americans to pay more in taxes.
Harris has had to jump through logical hoops, claiming that her support for Medicare for All does not mean that her plan would eliminate private health insurance, even though she has backed Sanders’ Medicare for All bill, which would eliminate health insurance for most services except for some cases where it may play a supplemental role. In January, Harris had to walk back her claim that her Medicare for All plan less than 24 hours after she claimed Medicare for all proposal would eliminate Medicare for All.
Although some progressive candidates have had trouble explaining their support Medicare for All, some 2020 Democrats may have trouble galvanizing the Democrats’ increasingly progressive base as they continue the primaries if they continue to shun Medicare for All.
Recent polling has shown Sen. Warren rising in the polls and showing more support with Medicare for All.
“Health care is a basic human right,” Warren said in the Times‘ poll.