Single payer? Yes, but only if it’s called “Medicare for all”


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Despite the rise of the Tea Party and unified Republican control of government, one decidedly anti-free-market idea appears ascendant: single-payer health care.

And it’s no wonder, given that a record-high share of the population receives government-provided health insurance. As a country, we’ve long since acquiesced to the idea that Uncle Sam should give insurance to the elderly, veterans, people with disabilities, poor adults, poor kids, pregnant women and the lower middle class.

Many Americans are asking: Why not the rest of us, too?

A recent survey from the Economist/YouGov found that a majority of Americans support “expanding Medicare to provide health insurance to every American.” Similarly, a poll from Morning Consult/Politico showed that a plurality of voters support “a single-payer health care system, where all Americans would get their health insurance from one government plan.”

Divining the longer-term trend in attitudes toward this idea is difficult, as the way survey questions on the topic are asked has changed over time. Views of a health care system in which all Americans get their insurance from the government single payer vary a lot depending on how you frame the question. Calling it “Medicare for all,” for example, generally elicits much stronger approval, while emphasizing the word “government” tends to depress support.

But at the very least, some survey questions that have remained consistent in recent years show support has been rising back up for the broader idea that the federal government bears responsibility for making sure all Americans have health care coverage.

Since 1987, the share of Americans who receive some sort of public insurance has roughly doubled, to about 4 in 10 as of 2015. That’s not even counting the people who receive subsidies to buy private insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

The increase in the share of Americans on government insurance is …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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