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Survey finds Medicare for all most popular health reform, but nearly as many want to strengthen ACA instead

A new Insure.com survey of 1,000 people found growing support for Medicare for all and less backing for a public option. The survey also revealed that nearly as many people want to improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA) rather than revamp the health insurance system with Medicare for all. 

One-quarter said they back Medicare for all. Support for the measure increased from 21% in a similar Insure.com survey in fall 2019

Despite Medicare for all growing in popularity, opposition to the health reform is larger than its support. The survey discovered that one-third of respondents said they don’t support that health reform. 

Survey respondents were also more apt to want to improve the ACA than a public option. A public option got the backing of 19%. That’s a drop from 28% in the fall 2019 survey.

Here were the overall results compared to the previous survey: 

What approach to health reform do you support?

Fall 2019

Winter 2020

Medicare for all

21%

25%

Improve the Affordable Care Act

7%

23%

Public option

28%

19%

Keep everything the same

7%

17%

Repeal the ACA

16%

16%

*In the fall 2019 survey, we included Sen. Kamala Harris’ Medicare for all plan with private insurers offering Medicare Advantage-type plans. At that time, the plan received 21% of support. However, since Harris is no longer in the presidential race and that plan is no longer discussed, we removed that option from the new survey. 

 

Type of insurance coverage influences health reform support

We found that how you get health insurance affects which health reform you want. For instance, people who have an employer-sponsored health plan are nearly evenly split for improving the ACA, Medicare for all and a public option. 

Here’s the top reform choice by insurance coverage type:

  • Employer-based insurance -- Improve the ACA and Medicare for all (tie)

  • Medicare -- Improve the ACA

  • Individual/ACA insurance -- Medicare for all

  • Medicaid -- Medicare for all

  • Uninsured -- Keep everything the same

In the previous survey, employer-sponsored plan members backed a public option more than any other. At that time, only 16% wanted Medicare for all. Even though support of Medicare for all increased in the recent survey, people with an employer plan were still the least likely group to want Medicare for all. 

Meanwhile, people with Medicare chose improving the ACA and Medicare for all more than any other reform. Only 15% of people with Medicare backed a public option. That’s compared to 22% of those with an employer plan. 

Though most groups liked the idea of improving the ACA, people with an individual or ACA plan were more likely to support repealing the health law than any other. One-third of those respondents backed eliminating the health law. 

One likely reason for their dissatisfaction with the ACA is that individual plans not subsidized by the federal government often have higher costs than employer-sponsored plans and Medicare. 

Another example of their displeasure with the current law is how few of them want to keep things the same. In the fall survey, not one person with an individual health plan backed keeping the same health insurance situation. The recent survey found that just 9% of people with an individual plan were OK with keeping things the same. That was the lowest percentage for that option. 

So, what do people with individual plans support? We found they were more likely to want Medicare for all than members in the employer-based market and Medicare. 

However, that group didn’t back Medicare for all as much as Medicaid recipients. Mirroring results from last fall, 39% of Medicaid respondents chose Medicare for all. Their next selections were improving the ACA (26%) and the public option (14%). 

Meanwhile, many people without insurance are fine with the current health insurance situation. One-third of uninsured people said they want to keep everything the same. Uninsured Americans were also least likely to back the public option. However, 28% supported Medicare for all and 19% backed repealing the ACA. 

Here’s how the break down and compared to the fall 2019 survey: 

Keep the same

Medicare for all

Public option

Repeal ACA

Improve ACA

Type of health plan

Fall 2019

Winter 2020

Fall 2019

Winter 2020

Fall 2019

Winter 2020

Fall 2019

Winter 2020

Fall 2019

Winter 2020

From an employer

8%

15%

16%

24%

32%

22%

19%

16%

7%

24%

Individual or ACA plan

0%

9%

21%

30%

38%

17%

12%

25%

10%

19%

Medicaid

4%

13%

39%

39%

25%

14%

7%

8%

7%

26%

Medicare

11%

17%

23%

26%

15%

15%

15%

15%

7%

27%

Uninsured

--

32%

--

28%

--

5%

--

19%

--

15%

*In the fall 2019 survey, we didn’t include responses for people without health insurance. We included answers from uninsured people in the winter 2020 survey. 

 

How much are you willing to pay for Medicare for all?

If Medicare for all actually happens, Congress would likely need to pass hefty tax increases to fund the program. 

But we found little support for major tax hikes to pay for Medicare for all. Medicare for all backers argue that despite tax increases, Americans wouldn’t pay more since they would pay little to nothing for health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

Despite that claim, more than half of respondents either still don’t want it or would support Medicare for all if it didn’t increase taxes. 

Here are the results:

  • Don’t support Medicare for all -- 33%

  • Don’t oppose Medicare for all, but don’t want any tax increase either -- 23%

  • OK with tax increase of up to 5% -- 24%

  • Support tax increase of up to 10% -- 12%

  • Back tax increase of 20% or more -- 9%

Medicaid and Medicare recipients are most likely to back Medicare for all but don’t want any tax increases either. Half of those with Medicaid and 36% in Medicare, who back Medicare for all, say they don’t want any tax increases to pay for it. Overall, two-thirds of people with Medicare and Medicaid said they don’t support either Medicare for all or don’t want any tax increases for it. 

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Find Affordable Health Insurance Now!

Please enter valid Zip Code.
Please enter valid date.
You may be eligible for a government subsidy if your household income is under:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers subsidies based on your household income, family size, and Qualifying Life Events.

You may qualify if...
One of the life events below has happened to you in the past 60 days:
  • I got married or divorced
  • I had a baby
  • A member of my family died
  • I moved to another state
  • i lost my job
  • I started a new job
  • I lost my health insurance coverage
and
Your income is under:
  • $45,960 - Individuals
  • $62,040 - Family of 2
  • $78,120 - Family of 3
  • $94,200 - Family of 4
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