Majority of Americans Want 'Medicare for All,' Poll Shows

A member of the audience holds up a placard as US Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent from Vermont, discusses Medicare for All legislation on Capitol Hill on September 13, 2017. The majority of Americans support the idea of 'Medicare for all,' according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll. JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty

The majority of Americans support the idea of a single-payer health insurance system, known as "Medicare for all," a new poll has shown.

The poll, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that 56 percent of Americans said they supported a single-payer plan, compared to 42 percent who were against the idea.

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While participants were largely in favor of the idea, the poll found significant differences in support for the single-payer plan depending on how the question was put forward.

Told that "Medicare for all" would "guarantee health insurance as a right for all Americans," support for the plan surged up to 71 percent. However, when participants were told that the health insurance system would raise taxes for more Americans, that number fell to just 37 percent. It stayed at 37 percent when Americans were told that the program would also "threaten the current Medicare" plan.

Support for the plan dropped even further when people were told it would "lead to delays in people getting some medical tests and treatments," with just 26 percent of participants favoring the idea.

"One way for lawmakers to expand coverage is by broadening the role of public programs," the Kaiser Family Foundation said in its report on the key findings of its study. "Nearly six in ten (56 percent) favor a national Medicare-for-all plan, but overall net favorability towards such a plan ranges as high as +45 and as low as -44 after people hear common arguments about this proposal."

The Kaiser Family Foundation's findings come as progressives push the new Democratic House majority to drive "Medicare for all" forward. Some of the party's most high-profile figures have expressed support for the plan, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, who have both announced plans to run for president in 2020, and Senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, while other, more centrist Democratic lawmakers have been against the proposal.

While most participants in the study did express support for "Medicare for all," other proposals saw even more support, with 77 percent supporting a Medicare buy-in plan for adults between the ages of 50 and 64, while 75 percent of the public favored the idea of a program that would allow those who are not provided with insurance through work to buy it through Medicaid, rather than a private insurer.

Both the Medicare buy-in and Medicaid buy-in plans attracted support from Republicans as well, at 69 percent and 64 percent respectively, while Democrats showed equal support for both ideas, at 85 percent.