New polls reveal Americans warming up to idea of single-payer health plan citing costs their main concern

57 percent of Republicans support the idea of government-sponsored Medicare and Medicaid.

Americans are most worried about healthcare costs among all financial concerns; most people in the U.S. also believe the Federal government should ensure that all people have health coverage.

Two polls published in the past week point to the fact that most U.S. health citizens are concerned about healthcare for themselves and their families, driving a growing proportion of people to favor a single-payer health system.

An increasing number of Americans are identifying healthcare costs as their No. 1 financial problem, rising from 10 percent of people in 2013 to 17 percent in 2017. Note this proportion nearly reaches the 19 percent of public concern for healthcare costs in 2007 just before the Great Recession hit, the Gallup Poll found. Gallup surveyed 1,009 U.S. adults over 18 during the week of June 7, 2017.

The relative low of 10 percent of people most concerned about healthcare costs was felt in 2013 as people grew more confident in health security: The Affordable Care Act was being implemented, and 2013 was a significant year of Medicaid expansion, with health insurance exchanges taking effect on January 1, 2014.

The poll found that, after healthcare cost concerns, the most important financial problems families in the U.S. face today are:

  • Too much debt, and not enough money to pay those debts, 11 percent
  • Lack of money, low wages, 10 percent
  • College expenses, 10 percent
  • Cost of owning/renting a home, 9 percent
  • High cost of living, 8 percent
  • Retirement savings, 6 percent
  • Taxes, 5 percent.

Most Americans believe the Federal government is responsible for ensuring that all Americans have healthcare coverage, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center conducted between June 8 and 18. This represents an increase of 18 percentage points over the 2013 support, and approaches the largest percent for Federal government healthcare support seen back in Pew’s survey from 2006.

More than 33 percent of Americans, across all political parties, support a single payer health plan for the United States, up 5 percentage points since January 2017.

Support for single payer healthcare varies by political ID: 52 percent of Democrats support a single payer plan and 12 percent of Republicans, in this poll. The proportion of Democrats supporting a single payer plan grew 9 percentage points since January 2017 and 19 percentage points since 2014.

While only one in 10 Republicans support a single national health plan, 57 percent of Republicans still support the Federal government sponsoring Medicare and Medicaid for seniors and the poor, Pew’s research found.

Age is a predictor for single-payer support: nearly one-half (45%) of America’s youngest voters, ages 18 to 29, support a national single payer health plan.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Clearly, healthcare financial health matters to Americans, which underpins a growing sense of healthcare insecurity in America.

The sentiment is expressing itself in the number of people in the U.S. supporting a single-payer healthcare system, noted by the Pew survey.

The CBO scoring of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (that is, the Senate’s version of the House’s American Health Care Act, suggests that financial un-wellness would grow among American health citizens were the BCRA to pass in its current form. Senator Susan Collins of Maine expressed her intended “no” vote for the BCRA, saying that, “This bill doesn’t come close to achieving the goal of allowing low-income seniors to purchase health insurance….We don’t want to in any way sacrifice coverage for people who need it the most.”

This blog was first published on Health Populi.

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