By Emma Ockerman for Vice News
It’s not just Sen. Bernie Sanders fanatics and DSA darlings pulling for expanding Medicare and developing a single-payer system. Apparently, some Republicans want it too.
That’s according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, which found 51.9 percent of Republicans would embrace a Medicare-for-All policy, out of the 2,989 people who responded to their inquiry of American adults in June and July. The idea also drew support from 84.5 percent of Democrat respondents, who’ve seen their party swing further left when it comes to healthcare issues.
Already, healthcare has become a top issue among those preparing to vote in November’s midterm elections. Elected Republicans have been chipping away at the Affordable Care Act over the past year by extending short-term insurance plans and doing away with the tax penalty for failing to sign up for an Obamacare-compliant plan.
Two-thirds of Democratic nominees across 41 battleground districts for U.S. House seats want to expand the government’s role in healthcare, and about a dozen support “Medicare for All” or a single-payer system, a Reuters review found. Meanwhile, a Medicare for All Caucus among Congressional Democrats is attempting to move the idea from the fringes of the party to a plank within the national party platform. And even among some Republicans, cuts to Medicaid and Medicare services were considered unpalatable amid the party’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare last year.
To be sure, the concept of Medicare-for-All can vary among candidates and supporters. For Sanders, it means replacing private insurance with a federally administered system that offers comprehensive coverage. For some Democrats, it means expanding coverage while retaining some version of a private health-care system, and Politico reported that some Democrats are being warned against endorsing “single payer” on the campaign trail.
Monthly insurance premiums for Obamacare marketplace-based “benchmark” plans are set to rise across most of country in 2019 as some healthier Americans ditch the individual marketplace to chase cheaper, skimpier plans, raising premiums for middle-class families. In cities like Baltimore could see a 36 percent hike in monthly premium costs next year, with customers paying $622 for an unsubsidized silver plan, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
But even last year, VICE News found that some conservative voters in the North Carolina working-class congressional district represented by Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, wanted a single-payer system. One person explained that in his view, the government should “either leave me alone 100 percent or pay for it 100 percent.”
It wasn’t clear how Reuters/Ipsos recruited their sample; the margin of error on the Medicare-for-All question was 2 percentage points.
Sanders appeared to be pretty pleased with the Reuters/Ipsos poll results, tweeting “according to a new poll 70 percent of Americans now support Medicare for all—including 52 percent of Republicans! The momentum is with us.”