Health Care

Most Americans Want Government-Run Health Care Until They Find Out the Government Will Run Health Care

And when they find out it means higher taxes, support crumbles further.


Erik Mcgregor/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Public support for single-payer health care is growing—in fact, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in July found a majority of Americans support it—but that increase comes with an important caveat. Most Americans only want government-run health care until they find out that it means the government will run their health care.

I thought about that this morning while reading J.D. Tuccille's excellent piece asking, "Are You Sure You Want Medicare For All?" He walks through the various ways government-run health care seems to be appealing—it means families no longer have to bear the cost of heartbreaking medical disasters on their own, for example—and the far greater number of reasons why government-run health care would be a fiscal, political, and medical disaster:

Jumping through bureaucratic hurdles for the privilege of accepting substandard compensation isn't as attractive as it might seem. That may be why a growing number of physicians refuse to see Medicare patients, others limit the number they'll accept, and more balk all the time.

Under a single-payer system, options for medical providers may be more limited than they are now—there probably wouldn't be any better-paying private insurers to take by preference to the government system. But there also wouldn't be any private insurers to effectively subsidize Medicare patients. In the case of a single-payer transition, doctors who find the terms of Medicare for All unacceptable may switch entirely to private-pay (if that's still permitted), while some percentage will leave medicine entirely. Considering the potential for switching over to single-payer in The Atlantic, Olga Khazan predicts "Hospitals would shut down, and waits for major procedures would extend from a few weeks to several months."

Are you sure that's what you want in your health care system? Progressives seem willing to bet on it, as Tuccille notes, with such figures as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) getting ready to unveil a Medicare-for-all scheme. Expect that issue to feature prominently in the 2018 midterm election as Democrats try to win back control of Congress.

Republicans have botched their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare so badly that the threat of single-payer is real, and growing. But this is a debate that can be won with facts. That July Kaiser survey suggests that Americans aren't actually ready to jump on the single-payer train. (The Sander/Warren "Medicare-for-all" plan would not be a true national single-payer system, but would amount to putting more Americans into government-run health plans. Kaiser's poll used both "single-payer" and "Medicare-for-all" interchangeably.)

This chart is the crucial one:

Kaiser Family Foundation

While 55 percent of Americans say they want a single-payer/Medicaid-for-all plan, those in favor tend to change their minds when they hear that it means giving the government more control over health care, or that Americans would have to pay more in taxes.

That tracks with other polling on the issue. A May poll from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found support for single-payer state healthcare at 65 percent statewide, but that number dropped to 42 percent when respondents were told at least $50 billion in new taxes would be required to pay for it. That's a pretty optimistic view of the taxes that would be required to pay for single-payer in California; the actual cost would be well over $100 billion annually.

Are you sure you want government-run health care? Many Americans don't seem to understand the question. But once they do, the answer is "no."

NEXT: 'The New Center' Is Full of the Same Old Worship of a Powerful Federal Government

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  1. This really lends support to my perception that Americans have been getting stupider over time. Why pause for 30 seconds to think through your opinions, when you can just blurt out your support from free shit?

    1. To be fair, a lot of poll questions demonstrate the stupidity of the pollsters, not the pollees. The very questions themselves are biased. Sometimes by assuming there are only two possible answers, and others by assuming a particular worldview. I was polled last week, for example, and asked my gender. It was a multiple choice answer, and half a dozen answers were read off to me, and I could have answered ‘yes” to each of them. The pollster did not think it was silly at all.

      Q: Do you identify as “male”? Yes.
      Q: Do you identify as “female”? I just answered that.
      Q: This is a separate question. Let me repeat, do you identify as “female”?

      1. To be fair, a lot of poll questions demonstrate the stupidity of the pollsters, not the pollees.
        Eh, the person talking to you on the phone is just reading a script. It doesn’t say anything about their intelligence.

        Now, the person writing the script? They knew what they were doing, and what answers they wanted.

        So it’s not stupidity. It’s annoyingly clever.

        1. I’m making over $12k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,…Go this web and start your work… Good luck..

  2. Are you sure you want government-run health care? Many Americans don’t seem to understand the question.

    Maybe we just don’t understand the answer, like a majority of Americans really want Warren Buffet or Bill Gates to pay for their healthcare.

  3. Most Americans Want Government-Run Health Care Until They Find Out the Government Will Run Health Care

    Ain’t that the truth!

    I think the hardest task of libertarianism is getting the average person, left or right, to understand that government is that thing over there they’re always complaining about. It’s not some abstract utopian concept, but an actual group of ungoverned people.

    1. One of my usual examples on this one is to ask people if they really want their health care decisions controlled by the same people who gave us the DMV. That tends to straighten things right up.

      1. I’ve tried that, and all I get is argle-bargle about how those running medical care are bound to be more professional than the DMV hacks. Everybody knows that!

      2. Even better, you can ask them if they want their healthcare controlled by Donald Trump. You can then watch their heads explode.

        1. This is what I do, since apparently idiots are unaware that people from the other party will inevitably come into power and then what do they expect to happen when they’ve handed those people all the power over their lives?

          Well, at least the honest one’s mention that we probably shouldn’t have elections anymore.

      3. The DMV is a state agency. How about FEMA, the TSA, and the IRS?

    2. an actual group of ungoverned people.

      Shit, it’s hard enough getting libertarians to understand this.

  4. So how do countries comparable to the USA spend less money and get comparable outcomes?

    How do you allow the market to govern health care costs without regulating insurance companies?

    1. It can work the same way as car insurance. Just de-regulate and the problems will solve themselves.

      1. No, it can’t.
        Unlike car insurance, you can’t “total” a person. And when the government mandated health insurance, just like they mandate car insurance, everyone thought it was so unconstitutional.

        That’s what makes health insurance so difficult–it isn’t like auto, home, or life insurance. It’s something that can cost considerable amounts, and has no guarantee for outcomes, prices, and duration of treatment.

        1. The NHS does it all the time. See kidney dialysis.

        2. Of course you can total a person. It’s called death. It’s always possible to spend more money on a person’s health care. Often you can extend a person’s life by an arbitrarily small amount if you spend an arbitrarily large amount of money. Eventually, though we have to call it quits because the expected outcome isn’t worth the cost. That’s when you’re totalled (ie. in hospice or dead). Of course, whoever pays the bills decides when you’re totalled…

        3. The government doesn’t mandate car insurance.

          1. Yes, they do. Try driving a vehicle in any of the 50 US states without vehicle insurance or a bond and see what happens if you get stopped by police.

      2. What about monopolies? You don’t think insurance companies distort the market?

        Car insurance companies aren’t regulated?

        1. The car insurance industry isn’t perfect, but it’s much less regulated and subsidized than the health insurance industry. The auto repair industry is also much less regulated and subsidized than the health care industry.

          1. The auto repair industry is also much less regulated and subsidized than the health care industry.

            And it should be pointed out that this observation is true despite the fact that the auto repair industry is regulated to an almost absurd degree.

    2. There are no countries comparable to the US. Every other country pointed to as a model for the US is actually a fraction of the size of the US. France, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Denmark, etc. Not only are those countries much smaller than the US, they also tend to be much more homogeneous. Despite the Trump rhetoric, the US is very immigrant friendly, whereas the third or fourth generation Moroccan in France is still not considered French. These countries also tend to have much much higher taxation levels and rather anemic economies. There are far more Danes on a waiting list to get into the US than there are Americans waiting to get into that “utopia” called Denmark.

      1. Plus Western Europe could build their social welfare programs from 1946-1991 thanks to the US taking over most of the responsibility for their defense. Single payer is easy to fund when Uncle Sugar is funding the tanks and troops, not you.

        1. This is the only reason I’ve heard over the years that sounds solid.

        2. Generally the proggies also want to sharply decrease military spending. On that point, I tend to agree with them.

      2. Wouldn’t a higher population produce more revenue?

        Wouldn’t having a heterogeneous population affect the people’s willingness to have a euro type health care system rather than ability?

        It’s looked to me that when you add up all the stuff one has to pay for, you end up with 40-50% of income in the USA or any other western democracy.

        1. 5% of the US population accounts for about 50% of US health care expenditures. 1% expends 21%.

          In 2011, of all Medicare spending–$554 billion–28 percent, or about $170 billion, on patients’ last six months of life.

          It all depends on which way the demographics skew. Do we have a population loaded with healthy productive young people happily paying oversize premiums, or a wave of chain-smoking, obese, elderly and soon-to-be-elderly folks getting large subsidies?

          1. Aren’t all the western countries dealing with the same population bulge of boomers?

            1. Americans are obese at almost 2x world average (66% vs 37%). Some estimates place upward of 25% of all healthcare spending is obesity-related (another 15-20% is smoking-related).

              U.S. expenditures in last 180 days of life are about 2x what is spent in England and Netherlands, for example. One study: “The United States performs poorly in other aspects of end-of-life care, especially related to high technology interventions. Over 40 percent of patients who die with cancer are admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) in the last 6 months of life, which is more than twice any other country in the study. Similarly, 38.7 percent of American patients dying with cancer received at least one chemotherapy episode in the last 6 months of life, more than any other country in the study.”

              1. That’s a good argument for reshaping our system to provide for more preventative care, and hopefully improving that situation while saving money.

              2. “The United States performs poorly in other aspects of end-of-life care,

                By ‘poorly’ they mean that, in the US, we hang on to life. We try to get every possible second of it that we can. We try to never give up on anyone. Death, in the US, is only ‘inevitable’ so far.

                We need to understand that ‘good’ means helping people die to folks who have socialized medicine.

                And then we need to ask ourselves why ANYONE would think that was a good thing.

        2. Wouldn’t a higher population produce more revenue?

          And correspondingly more people in need of healthcare.

          Wouldn’t having a heterogeneous population affect the people’s willingness to have a euro type health care system rather than ability?

          No, because a heterogeneous population is 1) less likely to agree on standards of healthcare and what they are willing to pay for and 2) is less likely to want to pay for healthcare for various “Others.”

          The US is also too large and varied of an economy. Saddling people in OK with healthcare costs of people in NY and CA is either burdensome or meaningless.

          Government healthcare systems might be theoretically possible on a state level, but on the US level it’s a pipe dream.

          1. I still don’t see an argument against possibly scaling up systems to match our numbers.

            “No, because a heterogeneous population is 1) less likely to agree on standards of healthcare and what they are willing to pay for and 2) is less likely to want to pay for healthcare for various “Others””

            1) that’s a good point.

            2) that’s what I said up there.

            The population and wealth distribution is definitely a problem.

            And thanks for not getting insulting! I’m just asking questions over here.

    3. Name a country comparable to the USA.

      1. Communist China. OPEN YOUR EYES ShEEPLE

      2. Canada, UK, the Nordics, Germany, maybe France.

        1. Populations:

          Canada: 35,000,000
          UK: 65,000,000
          Scandinavia-as-a-whole: 21,000,000
          Germany: 82,000,000
          France: 67,000,000

          USA: 325,000,000

          1. Yeah, our country is larger, population-wise.

            1. I like how you mention population-wise as if we’re not also several orders of magnitude larger than all of them geographically even put together, which is a far more important distinction in the first place.

              1. That’s better! More succinct and less insulting.

                Yeah, geographic distribution is a problem. That’s why I responded the way I did, because population size isn’t as relevant.

                Why don’t you relax, pal? I’m on here asking questions because this is an important issue and I want some opinions.

                1. Why don’t you relax, pal? I’m on here asking questions because this is an important issue and I want some opinions.

                  Oh, I’m relaxed. I don’t believe you, though, unless you’re either very young or have been in a coma for the better part of a decade.

                  1. Well, believing me or not on my motives is your prerogative.

                    Here is what I think:

                    Other advanced countries have cheaper costs and comparable outcomes in healthcare.

                    So my basic questions are:

                    Is that accurate?
                    If it isn’t, why?
                    If it is, why can’t we do it?

                    1. That isn’t what you think, it’s what you believe at best. That is because you clearly aren’t at the point where thinking is a thing, and therefore explaining it to you is a pointless endeavor because facts rarely win out over belief.

                      You’re a troll, though, plain and simple. Each of your comments have confirmed as much. Have fun with the vitriol you end up with by suggesting lots of state control over everything on a libertarian blog site! ^_-

                    2. When you’re right, you’re right. Have a good evening.

                2. the problem with end of life is almost no one wants to make the call to end treatment. People who have advanced directives are often kept alive by family members and sometimes providers in uncertain situations. doctors will argue that they dont know beforehand when a person is in the last 6 months of life. and some people want everything done for as long as possible regardless of prognosis or condition. Rearranging deck chairs on the titanic. Can do that for weeks. Sometimes being on life support for a short time helps and people get better. there is the matter of waste. Drugs, supplies, labs, procedures. Most consumers have no way of knowing what they really need, or if waiting for an outpatient procedure saves them money vs inpatient. Healthcare providers increased their rates of service more in the decade before the aca than afterwards btw. Consumers have almost no way to compare service and rates between hospitals. I had to go to the emergency room twice in a week last year. 2 different hospitals. Basically the same things were done at both hospitals. One charged less than 20% for the same services. Less than 30 miles away. You are paying a premium on services depending on where you go. I dont see a way to have real competition and transparency in healthcare. You cant start a heart program at a hospital if its too close to others, or too many in certain markets.

    4. Of course they spend less money when they have fewer citizens of their nation than we have people who aren’t working in the United States of America.

      Now if you want to talk per capita, that’s a different conversation but how do you feel about half your income actually going into taxes instead of your current close-if-not-actually zero income tax?

      1. Are you saying our unemployment is higher? I don’t understand that first sentence.

        1. He’s saying that our (U.S.) population of unemployed people is larger than some countries entire population. U6 unemployment numbers would indicate about 28M unemployed/underemployed.

          1. Did you mistype US or is U6 a thing?

            If we’re a bigger country, than we have more of everything. Of course we’d be talking per capita, or controlling for population size.

            If you add up all the stuff you have to buy, doesn’t it come out to 40-50% of your income no matter where you live? It looks like the USA is ala carte and other places are lump sum for the same stuff.

            1. Aren’t all the western countries dealing with the same population bulge of boomers?

              Did you mistype US or is U6 a thing?

              Of course we’d be talking per capita, or controlling for population size.

              Oh, you really are ignorant.

              1. No. While many other populations have ‘boomer bulges’ plenty deviate widely within the metric itself (happening sooner, later, or even multiple booms) but only the US has a prolonged boom or sustained birthrate.
              2. U-6 is the larges measure of unemployment. Traditional employment doesn’t count people not looking for work, U-6 does.
              3. Per capita does little to account for the (other) varieties of scale. One doctor per 100,000 in California or Germany is a different proposition than one doctor per 100,000 in Siberia or Alaska. Not to mention the ‘non-linear effects’ or ‘externailities’ where California tries to enforce a policy on it’s own people and Alaskans get a veto power.

              1. ‘Traditional *un*employment’ that is.

              2. 1. Gotcha.

                2. Thanks.

                3. That’s a good point about geographic distribution others have made on here, but that’s not what those commenters appeared to be saying.

        2. I’m saying your an idiot since you don’t know the actual number of unemployed persons in the United States let alone what a per capita comparison is.

          1. “you’re an idiot” is a little more readable. I don’t think I’m going to get any good arguments from you.

            1. None that you would be capable of understanding with your current level of knowledge, no. That isn’t meant to insult you, by the way, it’s just that if you don’t understand a concept as simple as ‘more people more revenue’ doesn’t make the slightest difference than it’s a hopeless conversation for us both.

              1. It might not make the slightest difference with our actual national problem. Your original comment up there did not communicate that, and that’s what I replied to.

                1. No, I mean it’s a profound misunderstanding of how one compares things at the base level. With that type of reason/logic fail, you’re simply not ready for anything beyond being told what to believe. I’d say no offense, but that’s probably going to insult you either way.

                  Educate yourself, because no one else can do it for you.

                  1. Coming to a solid base to compare things is the reason I’m even on here.

                    Throw some book titles out, I’ll consider them.

                    1. No, you won’t. ^_^ Doesn’t matter anyway, since there isn’t anyone as dumb as you feign to be that actually seeks out information outside of children, and they don’t react calmly to being insulted. Simple deductive reasoning tells me you’re a troll, no reason to break out the big guns. Good luck with it though, we’re done.

    5. Shakes|9.12.17 @ 2:54PM|#
      “So how do countries comparable to the USA spend less money and get comparable outcomes?”

      They don’t.
      Thanks for playing.

    6. The state-run health care models can only control costs by having the state pick some group and declaring them the economic loser, the group on to which the cost burden is ultimately shoved. It comes in the form either with long wait times, or poor doctor reimbursement rates/low doctor salaries.

    7. Which “countries comparable to the USA”? And comparable in which way? Population size? Population concentration? Number and concentration of immigrants? Range of health-care options? Numbers of doctors as general practitioners or specialists? What? How?

      Also, you are mixing apples and oranges. Insurance companies pay costs, at least some or even most. They do not set costs. The providers set costs. A free market in insurance will affect insurance costs, not necessarily the costs of medical care itself — especially not the cost of rare or complicated treatment. But that’s OK. Government can’t make those treatments cheaper, either; the providers can simply refuse to provide them.

      1. Comparable in wealth and western-ness. Canada, the Nordics, UK, Germany.

        So how is it that countries comparable to the USA spend less and get comparable care?

        1. They don’t.

          One must read the comparison studies *very* carefully and understand the weighting systems used.

          Consider one metric of health care system performance, infant mortality:

          “A separate WHO Bulletin in 2008 noted that registration of stillbirths, live births, and neonatal deaths is done differently in countries where abortion is legal compared with countries where abortion is uncommon or illegal, and these discrepancies generate substantial differences in infant-mortality rates. Jan Richardus showed that the perinatal mortality rate “can vary by 50% depending on which definition is used,” and Wilco Graafmans reported that terminology differences alone among [countries] with substantially different infant-mortality rates ? caused rates to vary by 14 to 40 percent, and generated a false reduction in reported infant-mortality rates of up to 17 percent. These differences, coupled with the fact that the U.S. medical system is far more aggressive about resuscitating very premature infants, mean that very premature infants are even more likely to be categorized as live births in the U.S., even though they have only a small chance of surviving. Considering that, even in the U.S., roughly half of all infant mortality occurs in the first 24 hours, the single factor of omitting very early deaths in many European nations generates their falsely superior neonatal-mortality rates.”

          1. Interesting, thanks. That’s exactly the type of thing I’m looking for.

    8. By defining comparable outcomes in a way a reasonable person wouldn’t. If you get your bum knee replaced in two months is that a comparable outcome to getting it replaced in twelve months? These statistics say yes.

      1. So you’re saying wait times are a problem we don’t want to import to the US.

        1. And with this, you reveal yourself as the troll I knew you to be.

          1. Huh?
            I thought I just summed up what he said.

            If wait times are a problem there and not here, then that’s something that could be put on the cons side of a hypothetical list.

        2. No, he’s saying that they don’t have the same level of care if it takes 12 months to get a knee replaced instead of 2 months. But some metrics (WHO) would say they are the same, and that we paid more for it. Perhaps saving someone 10 months of crippling pain has value?

          On another front: “The latest NHS England data on cancer treatment performance show that hospitals have failed to treat the required number of urgent cancer cases within 62 days throughout the whole of 2014-15 and have now not done so for the last 15 months. That has resulted in more than 20,000 patients being forced to wait longer than they should to receive potentially life-saving surgery, cancer drugs or radiotherapy.”

          “One cancer sufferer in Fife experienced the longest wait, 309 days ? a massive increase on the maximum waits of 242, 223, and 214 days recorded during the previous three quarters. Another patient under the care of NHS Highland waited 302 days and one in Greater Glasgow and Clyde 251 days.

          In the US, few people face treatment delays of more than 30 days (and VA patients tend to be among those that wait longer).

          1. Thanks. And that’s England. Do the other systems have that sort of wait time? And I’m speaking of those I’m personally counting as comparables, so Germany, the Nordics, and Canada.

            1. I don’t know the answer to that in the aggregate. But as an anecdotal example, a friend moved to Canada early this year. He has already moved back because after four months his wife still hadn’t been able to schedule an appointment to see a GP to get approved for the treatment of her chronic migraines. So she was flying back to the U.S. for treatment. While anecdotal, I don’t know of anyone who has to wait that long in the U.S. just to see a GP gatekeeper.

            2. US News

              TORONTO ? When Sharon Shamblaw was diagnosed last summer with a form of blood cancer that could only be treated with a particular stem cell transplant, the search for a donor began. A Toronto hospital, 100 miles east of her home in St. Mary’s, Ontario, and one of three facilities in the province that could provide the life-saving treatment, had an eight-month waiting list for transplants.

              Four months after her diagnosis, Shamblaw headed to Buffalo, New York, for treatment. But it was too late. She died at the age of 46, leaving behind a husband and three children, as detailed by the Toronto Star.

            3. sites/default/files/ effect-of-wait-times-on-mortality-in-canada.pdf


              Wait times for health care in Canada have lengthened considerably over the
              past two decades. Across 12 major medical specialties, the estimated typical
              wait time has risen from 9.3 weeks in 1993 to 18.2 weeks in 2013. These
              inordinately long waits, among the longest in the developed world, have
              become a defining feature of the Canadian healthcare experience.

              Waiting for medically necessary care is not a benign process and can
              have important consequences both for patients and for those who care for
              and rely upon them. Delayed access to medical care may subject patients to
              increased pain, suffering, and mental anguish. Waiting for health care can
              also have broader economic consequences such as increased absenteeism,
              reduced productivity, and reduced ability to work for the individual waiting
              as well as for family members and friends who are concerned for them or
              may be called to assist them with activities of daily living. Waiting may also
              lead to poorer outcomes from care, if not a requirement for more complex
              treatments, as a result of deterioration in the patients’ condition while they
              wait for treatment. Such deterioration may also result in permanent disability.

              Beyond these serious personal and economic consequences lies the risk
              of death resulting from delayed medical care.

  5. In fact, most people actually prefer to pay for their own health care. The problem is that they get suckered into sad sack stories of people who got bankrupted. However in most of those cases it’s people who either were irresponsible or self destructive to begin with – even though they are later painted as responsible citizens like you and me. Of course there are real tragic cases. But there are lots of ways of addressing that without upending the entire system.

    The problem with universal healthcare is with the next generation – they will blame their existence on it and then they will make it pay. And they will make it pay dearly.

    1. Responsible people also get sick, get cancer, have unexpected accidents, etc.

      Don’t denigrate the ill as irresponsible. It’s just irresponsible of you.

  6. It’s not for nothing that Sanders, Warren, et al carefully avoid calling it “government-run”. Some proggies I’ve talked to actually get angry if I call it that. They know how fucked up the brand is.

    1. In fairness, I think that’s because the ideal in the mind of a lot of single-payer advocates is that the providers would still be privately run, and behave in every way like privately-owned, for-profit businesses, but a government-funded payer would act as an insurance monopoly and pay all claims. Except that, since it’s the government, and therefore us, but way richer, all claims will simply get paid, and the government won’t act like an icky, cost-conscious private company.

      1. Because, of course, governments can just print money, so they never go broke.

        (And at this point I expect a lot of readers here will get oddly snarky coughs sounding like “Wiemar Germany” or “Zimbabwe”.)

        Slightly more seriously, given “he who pays the piper calls the tune”, I’m vaguely reminded of another political system where the actual production was done by private corporations but they were ordered what to do by the government, on pain of imprisonment or death. Can’t quite put my finger on it, I think something involving an Austrian with a funny-looking mustache…

  7. I thought about that this morning while reading J.D. Tuccille’s excellent piece asking, “Are You Sure You Want Medicare For All?”

    Damn, you write fast. I can only shit out these little useless posts, takes me way longer to write a cogent thought. It’s hard being retarded in America 🙁

  8. Give the government too much control over health care?

    That’s kind of an biased way to phrase that one. That phrasing means that it is already assumed that the amount given is beyond reason. This may be true for all amounts of government control, but my guess is phrasing it that way strongly biases things for the average person.

  9. Funny how I never get polled for anything yet these polls back up claims that Americans are pro-socialist programs. Must be those statistics that do not need my opinion ever to be so accurate.

    I mean President Hillary Clinton supports government single payer too.

    1. Most people want free shit if someone else will pay for it. They only refuse the free shit when they find out they have to pay for their neighbor’s free shit.

  10. “Give me the best health care and make someone else pay for it.” It’s the mantra of low-information voters.

    1. Also the medium- and high-information voters.

  11. While 55 percent of Americans say they want a single-payer/Medicaid-for-all plan, those in favor tend to change their minds when they hear that it means giving the government more control over health care, or that Americans would have to pay more in taxes.

    I’m going to admit I’m a little surprised at this. Is the average voter so misinformed that they think that free medical care can be done within existing budgets?

    1. The average voter can’t tell you how many branches of government there are, let alone have a considered opinion on health care policy.

      1. I bet the number gets even smaller if you ask them to actually NAME all 6 branches of Government.

        1. Trick question. It’s 5. Just like the 8 legs of the nukular pentagram.

          1. Wrong.

            1. Executive
            2. Legislative
            3. Judicial
            4. Press
            5. Bureaucracy
            6. STEVE SMITH

            1. You counted one twice.

        2. I thought there were nine. But I have to admit, fourth grade civics was the toughest three years of my life.

    2. I don’t think many of these voters think about budgets. I’ve also noticed many voters are very convinced that rich people pay no taxes at all, and so many increased expenditures are based in bringing tax justice to the rich.

      1. I wonder if more voters should know and care about the fact that the administration has yet to pass a budget or write a tax reform proposal?

        Maybe arguing about reality instead of abstraction would be more useful, not that it’s possible in Congress….. smdh

    3. Is the average voter so misinformed that they think that free medical care can be done within existing budgets?
      Go look-up the how much the average age 40-49 American has in retirement savings, and then come back and tell me what you think of the average American’s ability to understand a budget.

      1. Yeah, it’s scary that many people think a government safety net is going to catch them all en masse and that I’m expected to be one of the few holding the net.

        Best argument I’ve seen yet to axe public schools, since clearly they produce morons.

    4. How misinformed are voters? A few years ago there was a voter initiative for education spending in California. One of the proponents argued that it wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything because the money would come from issuing bonds.

  12. I don’t particularly like the idea of single payer government run healthcare.

    However, the PPACA is so much of a mess and Republican efforts to replace/reform it were so badly botched, that despite being awful, single payer starts looking like the least bad option.

    1. Obamacare was bad so let’s do more obamacare. Makes sense.

      1. Everybody knows you cure cancer by giving yourself more cancer, duh!

      2. Single payer is not more Obamacare.

        The PPACA is a bastard mix of the worst aspects of what we had before and single payer.

        1. Well, it fulfills the ultimate wishes of Obamacare.

          Obamacare was a microcosm of how bad things will be when we go full retard single payer.

        2. Given that most of the expansion in coverage was through medicaid, um, yeah, single payer is more Obamacare.

  13. Give me the best healthcare I can afford comfortably on my income, not on a someone else’s $100,00.00+ annual income. not saying we should have free healthcare and no government run healthcare either. regulate and govern the insurance companies, not the healthcare system itself.

    1. What do you think the ACA is?

    2. “Give me the best healthcare I can afford comfortably on my income”

      How much health care can you afford to pay for on your income? That’s how much health care you get. When you run out of money, you stop getting health care.

      I’m pretty sure that’s not what you meant. I may be wrong, but it seems what you said was “Give me good health care, similar to what someone with $100K+ annual income could afford to buy, but only charge me what I can afford.”

  14. this is a debate that can be won with facts

    Good one, Eric.

    All politics is not only local, all politics is also emotional.

  15. Republicans have botched their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare so badly that the threat of single-payer is real, and growing.

    Oh, so that’s why we’re at risk of single-payer huh? Because they couldn’t repeal a creation of the Democrat Party? Why would we have any push for single-payer if the ACA is still the law of the land, exactly?

    This is a stupid thing to say, even while most of the borrowed arguments from J.D. Tuccille are pretty good.

    1. Yup, but the false equivalence feeds us. It nourishes us and we shall have it.

    2. Why would we have any push for single-payer if the ACA is still the law of the land, exactly?
      Because while Republicans have been unsuccessful in coming up with an alterative to the ACA, they have done a wonderful job of convincing people that the ACA is failing and needs to be replaced.

      1. So it has nothing to do with barrycare itself. That’s good information.

      2. Most people aren’t retarded enough to think a 200% rate hike since the ACA was passed is lowering rates, and this is the group that most people fall into as a ‘mercy’ to the much, much, MUCH smaller pool of people who aren’t getting their insurance through their job.

        And that’s with the illegal payments that Trump continues to pay out.

    3. ObamaCare is utopia. The Republicans could not repeal it, therefore we still have utopia.

  16. The image is amusing:
    The woman supposedly wants “hands off healthcare”. I doubt it. What she really wants is me to pay the government to keep its hand ON her healthecare.

    1. Anyone else remember those “keep government out of my medicare” signs?

  17. … after the past eight years of polls showing that people wanted everything Obamacare did, but didn’t want Obamacare, or wanted government hands out of medicare, or they wanted to expand medicare but didn’t want government-involvement in healthcare to expand, and so-on, I’m pretty skeptical about the average American’s capacity for having an informed view on this topic.

  18. Heh. When people are told about these higher taxes, are they also told that neither they nor their employers would have to pay healthcare premiums to private insurers? And are they told that in advanced countries with single-payer systems, per capita health care costs are lower than they are here, with better results, so that overall they would pay less and live longer? No? I didn’t think so.

    1. Better results as long as you don’t actually look at health outcomes like 5 year survival rates for cancer, and if you neglect to mention that the US subsidizes the world in new drugs and medical devices.

  19. I lived in Japan for years and years and my family and I received extensive medical treatment, from childbirth to cancer. Is the Japanese system perfect? Certainly not. Do I prefer it to what I have found here in America? Hell, yes.

    1. Same is likely true for the rest of the developed world. Americans pay far more than anyone else pays. This is because our political system is the most politically corrupt of any developed nation. Organized “special interests” effectively make the decisions as to what the rest of us get.

    2. Oh I love this trope. And they have unicorns and giant robots too.

      1. Hey, I’d be willing to put up with a lot for a real Gundam or Variable Fighter. 😉

        (Yes, I know there’s more to the giant robot genre than that, they’re just the two examples that came immediately to mind.)

  20. People want the best for free at the expense of everyone else. When they discover that they’re on an East German Bus they get really angry or depressed.

  21. medicare part A premiums (hospitalization) will run you $400+ a month if you haven’t paid enough quarters of medicare taxes. medicare part B premiums (medical) are $109+ per month regardless of how much medicare taxes you’ve paid. these premiums are on top of medicare income taxes. I wonder how many of the dumbass survey participants know that and what the survey results would be if they did know. And those premiums are based on people paying in the system for decades and getting no benefits for decades. The premiums for medicare for all would have to be much much higher.

  22. People who are on Medicare or Medicaid or use the VA already have “government run” health insurance. Employer paid health insurance is effectively exempt from taxes. Whereas those who buy their own insurance usually have to pay it out of already taxed income. And because private individual policies are the most expensive form of health insurance, they effectively pay more than anyone else for health care.

  23. Move to Cuba or China you commie rats!!!

  24. If you are fool enough to want single payer or Medicare for all, go spend some time at your local VA hospital. Talk to the people in the waiting rooms. You might be in for a surprise.

  25. I see two issues repeated confused and used to muddle the issue both in these comments and out in the world.

    First is the focus on outcomes. That technologically advanced countries have similar medical outcomes should not be a surprise and id submit that the state of medical technology has more to do with it than structural differences. What they don’t focus on is the quality and access to care. The systems in most of these medical utopias is closer to what we receive at the VA than our normal medical care providers. I can tell you from experience that that system is not one you want any of your loved ones to be subjected to. Sure some people think it’s great but they aren’t the ones waiting months to be seen. It’s only real benefit should you receive care is to shield the patient from the cost. Unlike Canada or the UK I dotn have to schedule my dr visit s weeks or months in advance, I can walk down to my dr and be seen today.

    1. Secondly we call health insurance insurance when it is nothing of the sort then compare it to auto insurance. I don’t know anyone who buys auto insurance or home owners insurance then expects it to pay for preventative maintenance much less routine repairs. It’s purchased as a hedge against unforeseen risk. The closest thing in health care is the “catastrophic” plans.

      I also see very little discussion about addressing the root causes of the high cost of our healthcare. Nothing about the regulation or liability that ratchets up the costs. Only calls for more regulation and discussion of how to pay for it like the high cost is an unavoidable given.

      Seems to me if everyone bought a catastrophic insurance plan for the amount of risk they are comfortable carrying like they do for auto insurance, we removed the artificial price increases and allowed competitive practices to exist we’d have a much better system than we have now. I don’t even mind the existence of healthcare financing co-ops or assistance for the poor and indigent.

  26. I’ve worked with geriatric patients who got the “benefits” of Medicare…and no matter how old I live to be, I do not, ever, want any form of Medicare or anything based on it.

    I want a cash-based system.

  27. Gee, if everyone is on Medicare, how will physicians be able to not take their business? This essay is BS.

    1. They can retire, and last I checked the new ones coming out of med school (who would replace the retirees) aren’t doing so at all that great a rate. Even when they do come out, for obvious (I hope) reasons they’re not going to have a lot of experience, with fewer experienced doctors to show them the ropes of the real world.

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