No con­sen­sus on health care plan pushed by San­ders

Tulsa World - - Politics Extra - By Calvin Wood­ward and Emily Swanson The As­so­ci­ated Press mer­i­cans are not clam­or­ing for sin­gle-payer health care, as Sen. Bernie San­ders sug­gests they are in propos­ing a plan that would have the gov­ern­ment foot most med­i­cal bills. — AP in­ter­view, when as

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.

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