On Wednesday, Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Katie Porter, and Pramila Jayapal joined former insurance industry executive and now “Medicare for all” advocate Wendell Potter in an online strategy session to “chart the path forward” for health reform under a Biden administration.
The trio of liberal lawmakers pressed ahead with their demand for single-payer healthcare. “More and more Americans, even Republicans, are increasing in their support for a Medicare for All system and guaranteeing healthcare as a human right in the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Polling does indeed indicate that a slight majority of people in the U.S. favor “Medicare for all.” Once they learn about the trade-offs, though, they quickly change their tune.
To start, Ocasio-Cortez overestimates the popularity of her ideas on the right side of the aisle. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, just 21% of Republicans support “Medicare for all.” Just 4 in 10 Republicans support federal efforts of any kind to expand insurance coverage — down from over 7 in 10 14 years ago.
And they’ve seen what government-run systems abroad yield for patients. Support for single-payer among all voters, not just Republicans, drops to 26% when they hear it will lead to delays in testing and treatment. When people learn that “Medicare for all” will raise taxes and eliminate private insurance, support dives to 37%.
This should come as no surprise: More than 7 in 10 people rate their existing private coverage as “excellent” or “good.”
The public isn’t interested in the far Left’s “path forward” on healthcare. It’s really just one giant step back.
Sally C. Pipes is President, CEO, and Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Health Care Policy at the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is False Premise, False Promise: The Disastrous Reality of Medicare for All (Encounter 2020). Follow her on Twitter @sallypipes.