Did Joe Biden Overstate Democratic Voters’ Opposition To ‘Medicare For All’?


When the topic of “Medicare for All” got here up throughout the Democratic debate final week, former Vice President Joe Biden claimed that almost all of his celebration doesn’t favor it.   

“The fact is that right now the vast majority of Democrats do not support Medicare for All,” he mentioned, including, “It couldn’t pass the United States Senate right now with Democrats. It couldn’t pass the House.”  

This gave the impression to be a really robust assertion, and we weren’t positive that voters’ positions on this difficulty had been as clear-cut as Biden made them out to be, so we requested his marketing campaign the place he obtained the data. 

Public Opinion 

The Biden marketing campaign initially directed us to information protection of a January 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, which famous that almost all of Americans usually oppose  Medicare for All in the event that they hear arguments that body this system as requiring Americans to pay extra taxes or resulting in delays in testing and remedy. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially impartial program of the muse.) 

On the flip aspect, although, when — in the identical ballot — Medicare for All was described as guaranteeing medical health insurance for granted for all Americans, or that it will eradicate medical health insurance premiums and cut back out-of-pocket prices, the bulk favored the nationwide well being plan. 

That ballot, now almost a 12 months outdated, discovered that when merely requested, 56% mentioned they did favor having “a national health plan, sometimes called Medicare-for-all, where all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan.”

Those percentages, although, mirrored the views of  all Americans, not simply Democrats. The similar ballot broke down respondents’ solutions by political celebration and confirmed that 81% of Democrats favored making a nationwide well being plan. 

The KFF Health Tracking Poll, accomplished month-to-month, signifies Democrats’ assist for Medicare for All has weakened, however not fully. Its most up-to-date model, revealed in November, revealed giant majorities of Democrats assist a public choice (88%), Medicare for All (77%) and a Medicare buy-in (85%).

“The majority of Democrats do support Medicare for All, but Medicare for All is not as popular as public option or a Medicare buy-in,” mentioned Ashley Kirzinger, who’s the affiliate director for public opinion and survey analysis at KFF. 

Other polls present related outcomes: assist for Medicare for All amongst Democrats however stronger assist for the incremental approaches Biden backs. 

A September NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, as an illustration, discovered 67% of Democrats mentioned they supported adopting Medicare for All. The public choice fared higher, with 75% of Democrats supporting the proposal. 

“The knowledge … does present majority assist amongst Democratic voters (whether or not that reaches a “vast majority” relies upon upon your interpretation), however larger assist for a public choice,”Jeff Horwitt, senior vice chairman with Hart Research Associates wrote in an e-mail. Hart Research Associates performed the NBC/WSJ ballot. 

The Biden marketing campaign additionally directed us to a September KFF Health Tracking Poll that confirmed that 55% of Democrats want a candidate who would construct on the present Affordable Care Act, whereas 40% of Democrats want a candidate who would exchange the ACA with Medicare for All. 

And yet one more from the Biden marketing campaign — a CNN article citing a July CNN and SSRS poll that discovered virtually half (48%) of all respondents who lean Democratic mentioned the nationwide program shouldn’t exchange personal insurance coverage, whereas 31% mentioned that it ought to. 

That similar CNN/SSRS ballot, although, had 85% of respondents who’re Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents responding “yes” when requested if the federal government ought to present a nationwide medical health insurance program for all Americans, even when it will require larger taxes.

The numbers from these numerous polls appear to speak a variety of opinions amongst Democrats about Medicare for All. 

Robert Blendon of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health mentioned he thinks Biden’s assertion rings true primarily based on a poll he helped conduct, in partnership with the Commonwealth Fund and The New York Times. 

Rather than asking survey respondents in the event that they favored Medicare for All, the survey requested them to decide on amongst Medicare for All, enhancing the present ACA or changing the ACA with state well being plans. 

For registered Democrats, the outcomes had been shut between two of the proposals: 46% most well-liked Medicare for All and 45% most well-liked enhancing the present ACA. Only 7% most well-liked changing the ACA with state well being plans. In this survey, Medicare for All was not most well-liked by a majority of Democrats. 

But Blendon famous that survey respondents usually will say sure to a “one-off question” about whether or not they assist one thing and that reply can change as soon as they’ve to decide on amongst choices, resembling in his group’s survey. 

“The answer is that Democrats are divided on whether or not they want to build on the ACA or whether they want to do Medicare for All,” he mentioned.  

Congressional Support And Another Context 

Horwitt additionally made the purpose that it wasn’t clear in Biden’s assertion which group of individuals he was referencing. 

“I recall hearing the statement in real-time, but in looking now at just the statement from Biden below, it is unclear to me if he is talking about elected Democrats or Democratic voters when he references the “vast majority,” Horwitt wrote through e-mail. 

While the Biden marketing campaign did direct us to public opinion polls, additionally they identified that the Senate and House Medicare for All payments are “only sponsored by a fraction of the members of the respective Democratic caucuses that would be needed to secure passage.”   

The Senate Medicare for All invoice, launched by Sen. Bernie Sanders, has 14 co-sponsors, whereas the House’s Medicare for All invoice, launched by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, has 118 co-sponsors. (There are at present 233 Democrats within the House and 45 Democrats plus two independents within the Senate.)

Our Ruling 

During the current presidential major debates, Biden mentioned: “The fact is that right now the vast majority of Democrats do not support Medicare for All.” Based on a cursory assessment of polls, this assertion seems off-base. After all, most polls discover that when Democrats are merely requested in the event that they assist Medicare for All, they reply “yes.” 

However, when those self same polls dig deeper into this assist by asking in regards to the favorability of different Democratic-favored well being insurance policies — Medicare for All, the general public choice or expansions of the Affordable Care Act — or if such a Medicare for All program ought to exchange personal insurance coverage, this assist turns into weaker. The polls do appear to recommend assist amongst Democrats for the average reforms Biden backs. Still, the proof is missing to assist Biden’s declare “vast majority” of Democrats oppose Medicare for All.  

For these causes, we charge this assertion Mostly False. 


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