Public’s Medicare for All Doubts Confront Presidential Candidates

Published November 22, 2019

A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 55 percent of Democrats would prefer voting for a candidate who wants to build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in order to expand coverage and reduce costs rather than replace the ACA with a national Medicare for All plan. Eighty-five percent of Democrats favored allowing people between the ages of 50 and 64 to buy insurance through Medicare. The poll of 1,205 adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The poll was released October 15, two weeks before Democrat presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) unveiled the price tag of her Medicare for All plan, which she says will cost $20.5 trillion in federal spending over ten years, much lower than the $32 trillion estimate calculated by the Urban Institute and the Commonwealth Fund for similar proposals.

‘A Socialist’s Pipedream’

Voters are starting to become worried about the likely impact of socialized medicine, says Marc Palazzo, executive director of the Coalition Against Socialized Medicine.

“You’re seeing this response because, unlike some issues, voters are directly affected by the quality of health care they receive, which doctors they can choose, and how much it costs,” said Palazzo.

Rahm Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago and White House chief of staff for President Barack Obama, called Medicaid for All “insane” on ABC News’ This Week. Palazzo says that shows how far out of the mainstream the Democrat contenders’ plans are.

“Everyone, including liberals, knows Medicare for All is a socialist’s pipedream,” said Palazzo. “That’s how far left the Democratic Party is moving. Even Rahm Emanuel knows it’s an impractical proposition. And only the smart candidates that want to appeal to a broad audience and have a chance at winning the general election will heed his concern.”

Polls Indicate Doubts

Currently, two of those seeking the Democrat nomination, Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), are proposing single-payer plans which would eliminate private insurance. Polls released in early November suggest the proposals are not popular among voters. Of 14 polls tracked by Real Clear Politics, former vice president Joe Biden, who does not support a single-payer system, leads in 12.

Palazzo says Warren’s plan is based on “delusional economics.”

“It’s hard to overstate how irrational this plan is, but then again, she admits her plan would cost the middle class two million jobs, a statistic she’s okay with,” Palazzo said.

Expects Broad-Based Tax Hikes

A study by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found it would be “impossible” to finance the plan just by “taxing the wealthy,” says Palazzo.

“The middle class is always burdened by tax increases, whether directly or indirectly,” said Palazzo.

Socialized medicine would jeopardize the nation’s leadership in health care innovation, says Chad Savage, M.D., a physician and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, which publishes Health Care News.

“Other countries, even those with single-payer systems, are made to look better than they are as they adopt, at essentially no cost, the innovation that occurs here,” said Savage. “Absent the adoption of our innovation, and left to their own devices, [these government-run systems] would be practicing 1960s medical care, costing lives.”


Madeline Peltzer ([email protected]writes from Hillsdale, Michigan.