No consensus on health care plan pushed by Sanders
AHe's right that support for the idea has grown and in some polls tops 50 percent. But polls suggest that the prevailing sentiment is ambivalence.
Saving money on health insurance holds lots of appeal. Seeing taxes rise to cover those costs may dull the appetite.
Sanders' plan would have the government finance coverage now paid for by a mix of employers, their workers, public plans and people in the individual insurance market. He's not given details of the likely cost or how, exactly, he'd pay for it.
A look at the independent Vermont senator's claims about the popularity of a government-financed system and how they compare with surveys of public opinion:
“You mean because the people in this country want to move toward a Medicare-for-all system, that is divisive? I think in a democracy, we should be doing what the American people want.”
“Guaranteeing health care as a right is important to the American people not just from a moral and financial perspective; it also happens to be what the majority of the American people want.”
It takes a selective use of polling to make that case. Overall, public opinion research delivers decidedly mixed results.
The Kaiser Family Foundation reports a “modest increase” in support for single-payer coverage in recent years, with “substantial” opposition.
Kaiser's tracking poll in July found 53 percent in favor of having all Americans get their health insurance from the government; 43 percent were against that. Opposition climbed to 60 percent when people were asked to consider that such a plan would call for higher taxes for many.
The Pew Research Center in June found 60 percent who believe the federal government is responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, with 39 percent disagreeing. That supports Sanders' contention that people want health care as a right. But ensuring coverage is not the same as paying for it. Support for a single-payer system registered at only 33 percent in that poll. Many of those who felt the government has a responsibility for making sure people have coverage instead supported a mix of public and private programs.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt.