Issues & Insights

Why Are Democrats So Incredibly Ignorant About ‘Medicare for All’?

I&I Editorial

Ask Democrats whether they support “Medicare for All” and the vast majority will say yes. Ask them what’s actually in it, and most don’t have a clue. That, at least, is what a new survey shows.

The Kaiser Family Foundation asked multiple questions about Medicare for All, and broke down the findings by partisan affiliation. You’d expect that Democrats, who have been calling for single-payer for decades, and now have two bills in Congress that would achieve it, would be the most well-informed of anyone.

It turns out, they are the worst informed. Both Republicans and independents have a much better grasp of what Bernie Sanders and many other would-be presidents want to impose on the country.

Take the question of whether people could keep their private insurance plans under Medicare for All.

Two-thirds of Democrats think that private employer-provided health plans would continue. Sixty-five percent think that individuals happy with their current plans could keep them. Sixty-one percent think individuals and employers would continue to pay premiums.

Wrong on all counts.

The actual bills — which many Democratic presidential candidates have co-sponsored or heartily endorsed — would outlaw all private insurance, whether it’s provided by employers or bought on the individual market. It’s right there in the bills, which ban any private plan that covers anything covered by Medicare for All.

In fact, the whole point of Medicare for All is to eliminate private insurance. That’s why it’s called “single-payer” health care. So why are so many Democrats misinformed about this? Among Republicans, only 44% and 42% say that employers and individuals could keep their private plans. Only 48% of Republicans get the answer about premiums wrong.

The survey also finds that 71% of Democrats say people would continue to pay deductibles under Medicare for All.

Also wrong.

Both the House and Senate bills explicitly forbid any deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance.

How about provider payments? Only 42% of Democrats say that Medicare for All would entail cuts in payments to doctors and hospitals. Among Republicans, 64% say provider pay would get cut.

Correct answer? Cuts in pay. Steep cuts, in fact. Sanders own plan figures he can save $500 billion a year by slashing what doctors and hospitals currently receive from private payers.

And while 71% of Democrats answer correctly that taxes would increase under Medicare for All, that means more than a quarter of them are hopelessly ignorant about this plan. It’s likely that hardly any Democrat grasps the magnitude of the tax hikes required.

A low-ball Medicare for All cost estimate is $32 trillion over 10 years. Even a doubling of all individual and corporate income taxes wouldn’t be enough to cover that bill. The survey found that 85% of Republicans say taxes would go up for most Americans.

So why the incredible knowledge gap? Maybe it’s wishful thinking, or willful ignorance among those who identify as Democrats.

Most likely it’s because Democrats pushing Medicare for All aren’t telling their own party how radical it truly is. That makes sense, since they know that when the public learns that it means giving up your health plan, paying higher taxes and suffering interminable waits for treatment, support for socialized medicine craters.

The mainstream media — which Democrats rely on more than Republicans for their information — share much of the blame as well. It’s been busy covering up Medicare for All’s radicalism, rather than exposing it.

And radical it is. No country on the planet does what Medicare for All proposes — 100% “free” coverage of anything and everything that can be labeled health care. Even so-called socialist countries require plenty of out-of-pocket spending and don’t cover everything imaginable. Heck, in Communist China people pay almost a third of the nation’s health costs out of pocket.

Meanwhile, those countries that went furthest toward Sanders’ dream of socialized medicine are now retreating — a point we highlighted in this space recently.

Democrats say that health care is their No. 1 issue. It’s time they came to grips with what their own party has in mind.

— Written by John Merline

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  • There are two demonstrations in habits of thinking. One hews towards the emotional-centric. The other tends more towards objective fact based “critical thinking”. Both are subject to confirmation bias.
    The rigors of honest, unbiased curiosity and investigation are a stumbling block for most people.

    • “The rigors of honest, unbiased curiosity and investigation are a stumbling block for most people.”

      And thus the reason why politicians can make promises they have no intention on keeping and be rewarded with reelection.

      For the life of me I can’t think of one problem the government has ever solved. If fact, I can think of a whole lot of things that weren’t problems until the government got involved.

      But that takes common sense and examining the known facts and it through to make a clear and objective assessment of the facts to discern the truth.

      But, alas, there’s a dearth of common sense nowadays in this country and most people don’t bother to think for themselves. Instead they just believe whatever nonsense the politicians tell them and then are stupefied when things don’t work our they way they were told it would work out (e.g, if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor; healthcare premiums will go down by $5,000; etc.)

      The road to oblivion is paved with good intentions and America is on that road and in a hurry.

  • The Democrats are not poorly informed about any of these issues. They know full well, for example, that Medicare for All would eliminate private insurance. The problem is that if they acknowledged that, Medicare for All would be quickly shot down. The same is true for their other “misunderstandings”. It’s liberalism in microcosm – they always have to hide what they really want because if they were honest they’d have no chance getting it.

  • So if there aren’t any monthly premiums, do I get reparations for all the medicare premiums I have paid in the past? Wow I’m 78 years old. That would be a lot of cash.

    • I suspect the vast majority of people who aren’t on Medicare think that it is free to seniors, which is why they call in Medicare rather than Medicaid, which would be much more accurate.

      • Good point. I would go further and say that among the political class I would suspect none of them, even the age 65 and over, has any idea about Medicare from a personal standpoint. Don’t know for sure, but all probably are exempted from the system and have their own (rich and comprehensive) Congress-specific plans.

        Medicare is for the little people, the great unwashed.

  • Anyone who is curious about how this will affect health care in the US only need to search the internet for “Problems with NHS” This is the National Health Service in England. It is a total disaster.
    Not enough doctors, not enough hospital beds, doctors are quitting and taking jobs stocking shelves because it pays more, and much much more.

  • No Co-Pays, No Deductible???? You have the sniffles, go to the doctor. You have a stomach ache, go to the doctor. It doesn’t cost you anything.

    When HMO’s first came out, Southern Bell set this up as their insurance. Doctors dropped it like crazy. 20% of their patients were taking up 80% of their time.

    There are not enough doctors and money in the world to have doctors working like this. Or enough doctors. Nuts!!!!

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