Two weeks before the midterm elections that will determine control of Congress, 52 percent of Republicans told a HillTV/HarrisX poll that they support expanding Medicare to all Americans, a proposal mostly famously promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The other 48 percent of Republicans opposed the idea, the poll found. The 'Medicare for all' idea was unsurprisingly more popular among Democrats (92 percent support) and independents (68 percent support). Overall, 70 percent of Americans supported expanding Medicare to everyone, including 42 percent who strongly favored the idea.
Reid Wilson, a campaign correspondent for The Hill, told HillTV's Joe Concha that this is mostly a messaging problems for Republicans. "This is a debate that has only just started, and there are a lot of Republicans right now who are trying to figure out ways to talk about 'Medicare for all' in ways that will bring that number down, and bring the overall number down," Wilson suggested. "So this is not baked in at all."
The poll could also be an outlier, or it could signal a shift in acceptance for expanding a popular government program to everyone. HarrisX conducted the poll online Oct. 19-20, surveying 1,000 registered voters. It has a sampling margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. Peter Weber
On CNN Thursday night, Chris Cuomo and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) spent a good 15 minutes talking health-care policy, but Cuomo started off with politics, noting that President Trump's poll numbers are improving. "Don't you think that President Trump deservedly gets credit for this strong economy, that it's not just a byproduct of what's going on globally?" Cuomo asked.
Sanders did not agree, saying Trump has to explain why Germany, Japan, Mexico, and the U.K. also have historically low unemployment. "Our economy is doing well in terms of unemployment," he said. "But we are not doing well in terms of raising wages for working families," and policy-wise, Trump "is going to war against working people. He is a tool of the wealthiest people in this country, and I think the American people understand that."
Cuomo walked over to a whiteboard, saying he had done his homework and Sanders had to explain three things about his Medicare-for-all plan, starting with the idea that "socialized medicine," and thus socialism, "smacks of the end of capitalism." Sanders said Cuomo "is going to have to do some more homework," pointing out that every other capitalist society has single-payer health care, and Americans love Medicare.
Cuomo noted that Americans hate change, and one in nine Americans works in health care, so Sanders' plan endangers their jobs. "We will create more jobs under a rational Medicare-for-all system than currently exists," Sanders replied. "There will be a transition, just in the same way, Chris, as we have to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel. We create more jobs, but there will be pain and you gotta deal with that pain." "Right, but dealing with pain is not something that is done well in politics," Cuomo noted, and they sparred about the political viability of raising taxes versus eliminating private health insurance costs — and also, more personally, family dynasties. Watch below. Peter Weber
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) announced Monday that he will be co-sponsoring Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) "Medicare for All" bill, NJTV News reports. In doing so, Booker also joins forces with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) in the push for a universal health-care system.
"Health care must be recognized as a right, not a privilege," Sanders argues on his website. "Every man, woman, and child in our country should be able to access the health care they need regardless of their income. The only long-term solution to America's health-care crisis is a single-payer national health-care program."
Sanders plans to introduce his bill Wednesday, despite the fact that it will face long odds of passing in the Republican-controlled Congress.
"You should not be punished because you are working class or poor and be denied health care," Booker argued on NJTV News. "I think health care should be a right to all. This is something that's got to happen. ObamaCare was a first step in advancing this country, but I won't rest until every American has a basic security that comes with having access to affordable health care." Watch his announcement below via NJTV News, and read why Democrats should push "Medicare for all" here at The Week. Jeva Lange