Single Payer Poll Watch: Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus is impacting everything and anything it touches. In the March PRI Single Payer Poll Watch, average opposition to a single payer plan overtook support, continuing the trend of growing opposition to a single payer health care plan PRI noticed in our first poll watch in December 2019.

With the United States grappling with the spread of coronavirus, the April Single Payer Poll Watch brings more uncertainty to the public’s thoughts around health care. Averages of the four latest national polls shows a noticeable swing.

Single payer favorability inched up only slightly to 46.75 percent from 46 percent last month. But opposition fell to 30 percent, from a high of 48 in March and an average of 23.75 percent now say they are not sure if they support or oppose a single payer health care plan.  This is up more than 16 percentage points from last month.

Uncertainty is an accurate way to describe this month’s single payer poll averages. The updated averages were headlined by Morning Consult and Business Insider polls that measured double-digit “don’t know” responses when respondents were asked if they support a single payer, government run health care plan.

The Morning Consult poll made light of the coronavirus epidemic by asking if COVID-19 made them more or less likely to support universal health care proposals. Surprisingly, respondents supporting a single payer system due to the coronavirus sat at 41 percent. It’s not exactly a strong embrace of the progressive left’s signature health care plan, even during a global pandemic.

The other new poll from mid-March conducted by YouGov showed opposition to a single payer plan beating support by a narrow 46 to 45 percent margin.

State-level polls are also showing little real interest in a government run health care system, despite the impact of the coronavirus on the U.S. health system.

A recent Monmouth University poll in Arizona found that only 12 percent of Arizona respondents favored getting rid of all private insurance, while 39 percent said they preferred keeping their current insurance or an opt out option.

PRI’s President and CEO Sally Pipes recently wrote about how progressives have latched onto the coronavirus crisis to justify Medicare for All. Pipes reminded readers that countries like Canada and the United Kingdom with single payer health care systems already face substantial wait times in emergency rooms and over capacity. Pipes also penned a recent Fox News column about the dangers of pharmaceutical price controls like government price caps and pegging U.S. prices to the International Pricing Index.

These measures would damage the above-mentioned rapid responses to a pandemic, hurting American medical innovation.

The United States and the rest of the world is just beginning to grapple with the impact of the coronavirus. Even during a viral pandemic, the American public is somewhat bearish on a single payer health care system.

Evan Harris PRI’s media relations and outreach coordinator.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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