People Love ‘Medicare For All’ … Until They Learn What’s In It

By the Editors, Investors Business Daily:

Socialized Medicine:  Beware any poll claiming that the public has fallen in love with socialized medicine schemes like “Medicare for all.” It has bumper-sticker appeal only.

A poll out this week found that 56% say they favor “Medicare for all.” That looks like great news for Democrats, who have been eagerly jumping on board the “Medicare for all” bandwagon.

But this poll result is wildly misleading, since not even Democrats have any idea what they’re endorsing. And when the public learns what “Medicare for all” actually means, support vanishes.

The Actual Plan

In describing the poll’s findings, the leftist Huffington Post said that “once Americans hear some of the common attacks that conservatives deploy against government-run insurance schemes, they get more skittish about the idea.”

What exactly are the “common attacks that conservatives deploy”?  Turns out, what the Huffington Post writer is referring to are descriptions of the actual “Medicare for all” plan.

Sure, people love the fact that “Medicare for all” promises to eliminate health insurance premiums and deductibles. And they love the idea about “guaranteeing” health insurance as a “right.”

Outlaws Private Insurance

But when the Kaiser poll told them that “Medicare for all” would eliminate private insurance companies, support collapsed. Just 37% said they back it knowing it would mean getting rid of their existing health plans.

That’s not a “conservative attack.” The bill specifically calls for outlawing private insurance.

Sect. 107 of Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” states that: “It shall be unlawful for a private health insurer to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the benefits provided under this Act.”

Since “Medicare for all” would cover everything except cosmetic surgery — medical, dental, vision, mental health — this amounts to an outright ban on private health insurance.

What’s more, the law dictates that once phased in, enrollment in the government plan is automatic.

Requires Massive Tax Hikes

Likewise, when the Kaiser poll said that “Medicare for all” would “require most Americans to pay more in taxes,” support also collapsed. Just 37% said they back it.

This, too, isn’t an “attack.” It’s a fact.

Lowball estimates of “Medicare for all” costs are $3.2 trillion a year. That would nearly double the size of the federal government. The fact that nobody pushing “Medicare for all” will say how they’d pay for it doesn’t mean there won’t be massive tax hikes.

“Medicare for all” backers will argue that the tax question is misleading. While taxes will go up, they say, premiums and out-of-pocket expenses will disappear. So, most people will end up saving money.

You can believe that if you like. But remember how ObamaCare was supposed to save everybody money? How well did that turn out?

Eliminates Medicare Advantage

The Kaiser survey also found that support dropped to 32% when people learned that it could “threaten the current Medicare program.”

To be fair, that question is a bit misleading. “Medicare for all” wouldn’t threaten the current Medicare program. It would eliminate it. Like everyone else, seniors would end up in the “Medicare for all” boat.

That includes the millions of seniors who’ve selected one of the private Medicare Advantage plans precisely because they wanted to avoid the government-run Medicare insurance program.

It’s hard to see that support would improve much if the survey described the law’s impact on Medicare more accurately.

Only Guarantee Is Shortages and Delays

Most revealing, the poll also found that a mere 26% said they’d support “Medicare for all” if it “leads to delays in people getting some medical tests and treatments.”

This also isn’t a conservative “attack.” It is the bitter reality faced by people in countries that have already gone the “Medicare for all” route.

Canadians must wait an average five months for treatment by a specialist after they get a referral from their primary doctor. Those wait times have skyrocketed 113% since 1993, according to the Canadian-based Fraser Institution, which closely tracks this metric.

The Guardian, a British publication, just reported that waiting times for cancer treatments in the U.K. are at all-time highs. Just getting results from X-rays, CT and MRI scans can take months because of shortages of radiologists.

Wait for the Debate

There’s a better way to measure public support for these sorts of single payer schemes than polls that only measure the public’s ignorance. Look at how people reacted after they’d learned what socialized medicine entails.

Colorado voters had the chance in 2016 to adopt a single-payer system that promised much of the same benefits as “Medicare for all.” There was as spirited debate in the state. And then 80% of voters opposed it.

Vermont’s liberal governor abandoned that state’s single-payer plan once the enormous costs and adverse affects on the state’s economy became apparent. Vermont, it’s worth noting, is Bernie Sanders’ home state.

So, ignore these polls until after there’s been an actual public debate about the realities of “Medicare for all.” Then we’ll see what the public really thinks about the Democrats’ plan to socialize health care in America.

Published January 23, 2019 at investors .com. Reprinted here Jan. 24 for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from Investors Business Daily.


1. What point do the editors make about the “common attacks that conservatives deploy”? (see paragraph 5)

2. What information changed respondents’ support for “Medicare for all”? (list 4 facts) – see paragraphs 7-8, 12, 17, 20

3. Ask a parent: Do you agree or disagree with the Investors’ editor’s assertion that Americans only support “Medicare for all” because they don’t understand what it will do? Please explain your answer.