Poll: Americans Want Universal Medicare But Don’t Want To Pay Higher Taxes For It

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

A majority of Americans want the kind of single-payer, universal health care that exists in Canada and that many Democrats are now promoting.

But they don’t want to be taxed to pay for it, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The survey found that 56 percent support the Medicare for All plan while 42 percent oppose it. However, the poll found that opinions changed toward the policy depending upon how the question was asked. (RELATED: Report: Sanders’ Universal Medicare Could Top $32 Trillion)

Universal medicare has long been a policy plank of Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, but an increasing number of Democrats on the party’s progressive wing are also lending their support, including recently announced candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the "Medicare for All Act of 2017" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2017” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

If voters are told that Medicare For All is all about ensuring “health insurance as a right” for everyone, then 71 respondents indicated their approval. However, if those same people are reminded that universal medicare will undoubtedly require “most Americans to pay more in taxes,” only 37 percent agree. Fully 55 percent also falsely believe that a universal medicare would not force them to change from private insurance.

The poll found that most Democrats believe they should use their new majority in the House of Representatives to first try “improving and protecting the ACA” before moving on to Medicare for All legislation. (RELATED: Ontario Hospital Bed Found At Last For Canadian Near Death In Mexico)

Sanders has conducted fact-finding missions to Canada to examine how the health care works there. He was sold. “What we heard was incredibly innovative. In fact, they are proud to be doing things that are leading the world. I think it is not a fair argument to say that the system here is not a strong system and innovative system,” Sanders told reporters at a Toronto news conference.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2017” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

However, several reports have examined the real cost of “free” health care in Canada, despite being considered by many Democrats as a model for socialized medicine. The Fraser Institute demonstrated how wait times for simple operations have more than doubled in the last 25 years, while 63,000 Canadians sought medical assistance outside of their country in 2016 — usually in the United States.

The Kaiser Family Foundation poll was conducted from Jan. 9-14 2019 and is considered accurate within plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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