Medicare-for-all has been in the news for weeks and months, especially leading up to the 2018 midterm elections in November. So, how much does the public know about Medicare-for-all – and what do they think of it?
A recent Reuters survey started to get at the answer – 70% of Americans surveyed were found to support Medicare-for-all. That includes 85 percent of Democrats, and 52 percent of Republicans.
“A single-payer system simplifies who is responsible for covering costs,” writes CNBC’s Yoni Blumberg of the Medicare-for-all proposal. “That gets rid of some of the issues that stem from the complexity of the current American system, like balance billing.”
While many Americans are unsatisfied with their current health care coverage – for any number of reasons, ranging from cost to inefficiency – most Americans who are enrolled in Medicare are generally satisfied.
“The advantage of Medicare-for-all, which is much closer to how the rest of the world provides health care to their residents, is that you can achieve universal coverage at a lower cost,” Larry Levitt, senior vice president for health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation told CNBC.
Of course, there are still issues Medicare members have with their coverage. A recent HealthMine survey found that just 10% of Medicare plan members were satisfied with the guidance they received from their plans about chronic conditions. Still, to the point about overall satisfaction, 62% found that their plan “knew them well.”
One of the issues raised by Blumberg and by critics of Medicare-for-all is cost. “Critics argue that the financial burden on the federal government would be staggering,” writes Blumberg. “A much-discussed report released last month by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University suggested that Sanders' proposal would lead to a $32.6 trillion increase in federal spending over a 10-year period.”
This financial burden is something current Medicare members already feel. The recent Healthmine survey found that 63% of members are concerned about availability of coverage during their lifetime, while 69% believe Medicare may not be available for their children.
Depending on the results in November, Medicare-for-all may grow in the public debate – and with bipartisan support from Americans, we’re likely just beginning the conversation.