Health and financial security Medicare What's Buzzing

Strong majority of public continues to support Medicare for all

Written by Diane Archer

A new Kaiser poll finds that public opinion on health care reform changes depending upon how it is described. Nearly two thirds of the public supports “Medicare for all,” a form of universal health care. Far fewer support other terms, even though they describe Medicare for all.

Different descriptions for health care reform could have the same or different meanings. “Medicare for all” describes US Senate and House bills which improve Medicare benefits to include hearing, vision, and dental care and long-term services and supports. It also gives people the freedom to use the doctors they want to see anywhere in the US. And, it eliminates premiums, deductibles and coinsurance and ends Medicare Advantage plans, expanding traditional Medicare to everyone.

The Kaiser poll shows that 63 percent of the public support Medicare for all. The Kaiser poll further shows that over the last two years, Democratic support for Medicare for all has strengthened. Fifty-eight percent of Democrats have a very positive reaction to it as compared to 49 percent two years ago.

The term “universal health coverage” has as much public support as Medicare for all. This makes sense given that we cannot have Medicare for all unless we have universal health coverage. However, when people speak about universal health coverage, it does not necessarily mean Medicare for all. They could mean expanding commercial insurance to everyone or creating a health care system for everyone that includes both Medicare and commercial insurance. It doesn’t tell you enough about the health care system and whether it will bring down costs and guarantee people access to the care they want and need.

The terms “single-payer health insurance system” and “socialized medicine” have the least support, 49 percent and 46 percent, respectively. Curiously, support for single payer health insurance should be as high as for Medicare for all, which is single payer health insurance.

Socialized medicine is a form of universal health coverage, but it is very different from single payer health insurance and Medicare for all. In a socialized medicine system, like the Veterans Administration, the government owns the hospitals and employs the medical providers as well as pays for the care.

If you support Medicare for all, please sign this petition.

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