Californians Love Medicare for All – Just Not the Bill


medicareforallA majority of Californians favors a Medicare for All approach to health insurance coverage. Until they’re asked to pay for it.

That’s the finding of a new statewide survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

According to the survey, 65% of adults favor “having guaranteed health coverage in which all Californians would get their insurance though a single state government health plan” – in other words, a state equivalent of Medicare extended to everyone.

But approval drops to 42% if it means raising taxes – which almost certainly would be required in some form.

Whether an increase in taxes would be offset by lowering or eliminating health insurance premiums is yet uncertain. Senate Bill 562 by Democratic Sens. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens and Tony Atkins of San Diego – which would adopt the “single payer” approach — has no clear financing mechanism thus far.

medical careOf course it’s popular…The attraction of Medicare for All (MFA) is obvious: it’s aimed at providing guaranteed medical care, not insurance or access to insurance, to everyone. How a single state – even one as large as California – could afford to make it work is less clear.

The partisan and ideological divide on the issue is stark. Democrats favor MFA 75-18%, with 59% still in favor if it means raising taxes. Liberals support the idea 81-15%, with 62% support even if taxes must be raised.

Republicans, on the other hand, oppose MFA 66-28%. Interestingly conservatives slightly favor the idea 49-46%, but their support drops to 23% if taxes have to be raised.

Independents like MFA 64-32%, but their support drops to 44% if taxes have to be increased. Likewise, moderates favor the approach 62-31%, until taxes are involved when their support drops to 37%.

Latinos are especially sensitive to the impact of raising taxes to pay for health care: they favor the single-payer approach 75-21% generally, their support drops to 41% if the system is paid for by raising taxes. That’s about the same proportion of whites – 42% — who support MFA if taxes are raised to pay for it.

What the survey suggests is that before there is strong support for Medicare for All in California, advocates of the idea have to convince many more people that paying for the system with tax increases would be offset by decreases in insurance and other medical care expenses.

spy-vs-spyMore results Some few other notable findings in the PPIC survey include:

— Half of all adults worry a lot (30%) or some (21%) that people they know could be deported with increased enforcement by the Trump administration. Most Latinos (59%) say they worry a lot.

— Nearly six in 10 (58%) of Californians say they think the Russian government tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and nearly half (47%) say members of the Trump campaign intentionally helped Russian efforts.

— President Trump’s approval rating has slumped to 27%, down from 30% in January and 31% in March. However, a big majority of Republicans (74%) approve of Trump, compared to huge majorities of Democrats (88%) and independents (70%) who disapprove. (In a recent Gallup weekly tracking poll, 38% of adults nationwide approve of Trump.)

PPIC surveyed 1,707 California adult residents from May 12-22, including 1,107 interviewed on cell phones and 600 interviewed on landline telephones. The margin of error is ±3.2 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for the total unweighted sample.

Complete results of the PPIC survey may be found at here.

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There are 2 comments for this post

  1. avatar hclark says:

    Taxes raised will be offset by higher wages that employers will pass on to workers when their share of premium costs go down to zero. For years businesses that hire Californians have used high insurance premiums as excuses for wage stagnation, which led to difficult recruitment. Now they can pay more and the workers can pay their premiums direct to State, bypassing the – WTF do they provide anyway – insurance companies. Aetna’s gonna leave, Aetna’s gonna leave….don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

  2. avatar Bob Mulholland says:

    Last year a Single Payer measure was on the ballot in Colorado. The idea had lots of support, then the No campaign told voters it would increase taxes by $25 billion. The Yes side got into their academic discussions (never work in campaigns) that increased taxes would be offset by lower costs everywhere else. The Single Payer Measure went down in flames with a 80% No vote.

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