On Thursday, Hill-HarrisX released a survey about health care. The survey, which was conducted between February 1-2, presented five statements regarding potential changes to the health care system in the United States, and asked respondents to indicate which statement they aligned with most.
- 15% of respondents agreed that “the government should remove itself from paying for all health care.”
- 14% said “the current health care system should be kept as is.”
- 26% said “any citizen should be able to sign up for Medicare/Medicaid regardless of age or income while those with private plans could keep their existing insurance.”
- 32% said “Medicare/Medicaid should be expanded to cover all citizens regardless of age or income but people should be able to purchase private supplemental plans.”
- 13% said “Medicare/Medicaid should be expanded to cover all citizens regardless of age or income and private health plans should be abolished.”
Despite only 13% of respondents indicating they wanted to eliminate private insurance in favor of a government-run health care system, support for such a plan has become standard among declared 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
During a CNN town hall on January 28, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), who declared her intention to run for president a week earlier, suggested eliminating private health insurance.
After an audience member asked the senator about health care, Harris replied in part:
I believe the solution — and I actually feel very strongly about this — is that we need to have Medicare for all. That’s just the bottom line.
And I’ll say this. And this is, I think, why you’re also asking this question. What we know is that, to live in a civil society, to be true to the ideals and the spirit of who we say we are as a country, we have to appreciate and understand that access to health care is a— should not be thought of as a privilege. It should be understood to be a right.
… It is inhumane to make people go through a system where they cannot literally receive the benefit of what medical science can offer because some insurance company has decided it doesn’t meet their bottom line in terms of their profit motivation. That is inhumane.
Jake Tapper then asked Harris: “So, just to follow up on that, and correct me if I’m wrong, to reiterate, you support the Medicare for all bill … initially co-sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders. You’re also a co-sponsor onto it. I believe it will totally eliminate private insurance. So for people out there who like their insurance, they don’t get to keep it?
Well, listen, the idea is that everyone gets access to medical care, and you don’t have to go through the process of going through an insurance company, having them give you approval, going through the paperwork, all of the delay that may require. Who of us has not had that situation, where you’ve got to wait for approval, and the doctor says, well, I don’t know if your insurance company is going to cover this? Let’s eliminate all of that. Let’s move on.
This position isn’t just held by a single presidential candidate. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), all of whom have announced their respective presidential candidacies, are co-sponsors of Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “Medicare for All” bill.
Obama-era Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro, who officially announced his presidential plans on January 12, also supports a “Medicare for All” style system.
Sanders’ bill would eliminate, or at the very least severely restrict, private health insurance providers by enacting a single-payer government health care system. The text of the bill can be read in its entirety here.
Additionally, there are rumblings that Sanders himself is planning a presidential run.
This would mean that at least six Democratic candidates jousting to unseat President Trump in 2020 would be on record supporting a universal, government-run health care system, which only 13% of Americans seem to want, according to the Hill-HarrisX survey.