paradigm shift
August 23, 2018

A push from progressive Democrats has made Medicare-for-all a more popular idea, and not only within the Democratic Party.

Seven in 10 Americans support Medicare-for-all as a policy, a Reuters poll published Thursday found. That includes 84.5 percent of Democrats, and a whopping 51.9 percent of Republicans.

The health-care system is up for debate among many candidates running for Congress, with some arguing that the government should allow all Americans to enroll in publicly funded health insurance, covering all medically necessary services without co-pays or deductibles. There is some disagreement over how to mix public and private plans to provide additional benefits, but liberal candidates are increasingly using the policy proposal as a major part of their platforms.

The idea was once a long-shot, making its new popularity surprising, especially among fiscal conservatives who historically have opposed a tax-funded option. Back in 2017, Pew Research Center found that just 12 percent of Republicans said the government had a responsibility to provide a national health-care program, while 17 percent said there should be a mix of public and private programs. Fifty-seven percent said Medicare and Medicaid should continue untouched. The same poll found that in 2014, just 33 percent of Democrats wanted a single government program, which jumped to 52 percent last year.

Candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have drawn attention to the policy in recent years, says Reuters, pushing a populist message that has nudged lawmakers and Americans alike toward a more positive view on the government's role in health care.

The poll was conducted June-July 2018, reaching 2,989 American adults. The margin of error is 2 percentage points. See more results at Reuters. Summer Meza

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