Half of Americans support Medicare for All amid the coronavirus pandemic, new poll finds

Bernie Sanders Healthcare Right Medicare for All Rally

Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at a news conference to introduce the "Medicare for All Act of 2019" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2019.

  • Nearly half of Americans backed Medicare for All in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has fueled calls for universal healthcare in the US from some Democratic politicians.
  • Around 48% of respondents said in a Business Insider poll they backed transitioning to a single-payer system.
  • The poll suggest support for Medicare for All has remained steady as Americans confront the prospect of expensive hospital bills for coronavirus treatment.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

About half of Americans support Medicare for All amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new Insider poll conducted on SurveyMonkey Audience.

Around 48% of respondents favor the transition towards a single-payer system where every American receives health insurance from the government, the poll found. By contrast, 29% said they disagreed with the policy and 17% expressed no inclination to either support or oppose Medicare for All. Around 7% responded: "I don't know."Advertisement

The results suggest the coronavirus pandemic - which has fueled calls to reform the nation's costly healthcare system - hasn't weakened support for Medicare for All. Under the plan Sen. Bernie Sanders has championed, the private insurance sector would be eliminated and replaced by a government-run healthcare system.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said earlier this month that ensuring free coronavirus testing and medical treatment is "absolutely" an "argument for Medicare for All."

"What this crisis has taught us is that, our health care system and our public health are only as strong as the sickest person in this country," she told the Huffington Post.
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Still, former Vice President Joe Biden has emerged as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, and he's seeking to shore up the Affordable Care Act instead of pushing for universal healthcare.

The poll asked 1,081 respondents the following question: "Some have proposed a transition from a U.S. health care system where private insurers manage health care coverage to a new single-payer, national health insurance program. The federal government would manage and providing medical coverage to all Americans, similar to how the Medicare program works for seniors. Do you agree or disagree with this policy?"Then the survey invited respondents to choose the option that most closely aligned with their views. Here's how the results broke down:Advertisement

  • 17% responded they strongly agreed
  • 15% said they agreed
  • 16% said they somewhat agreed.
  • 17% responded they neither agreed nor disagreed
  • 7% of respondents said they somewhat disagreed
  • 6% said they disagreed
  • 16% said they strongly disagreed
  • 7% said they didn't know.

In recent weeks, concern has grown that the cost of the US health care system could form a barrier that discourages people from seeking medical care for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus. Some Americans have faced sky-high hospital bills, Time reported.

Sanders has sought to highlight weaknesses in the existing system, attacking it as "profit-driven" and "a danger to our people."

"During this crisis, Medicare should cover all health care treatment for free, including coronavirus testing, treatment, and the eventual vaccine," he said in a March 20 tweet.Advertisement

A majority of Democratic voters support Medicare for All, Vox reported. Back in August, an Insider poll found most Americans with employer-based health insurance transitioning to Medicare for All as long as it guaranteed similar coverage.

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn't try to weigh its sample based on race or income. A total of 1,081 respondents were collected March 13-14 2020, a margin of error plus or minus 3.08 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.

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