According to a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans — 62% — think the federal government must ensure that “all Americans have health care coverage”; just 37% disagree. That’s a massive shift from even March, when the same poll found just 52% of Americans stating that the feds had to ensure health care coverage, with 47% disagreeing.
The stunning new number includes “3 in 10 Republicans.” Furthermore, the poll surveyed particular thoughts on proposed Republican measures to free up the health care market: 73% opposed letting insurers set rates based on health condition, 57% opposed letting states do away with “essential benefits,” 78% opposed relieving regulations on insurers forcing them to subsidize older Americans’ health care coverage.
Now, it’s fair to question whether this poll actually matters — whether Americans actually understand what they’re being asked. Most polls that ask Americans whether they want to cut specific services receive the preferred Leftist answer. But it’s disquieting that opinions have shifted so radically on the role of government in health care.
That’s not all attributable to Obamacare, either. It’s thanks to the Republican failure to even make the case for free markets. President Trump himself would presumably agree that it is the government’s job to ensure that everyone has health care — he said so openly and repeatedly during the election cycle and beyond. “We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said in January. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”
Americans have been trained by both parties to think of health care as a right rather than a commodity — and that’s why the Republican health care plan is so radically unpopular. If something is a right, you’re owed it. If you’re owed it, it’s immoral for someone to charge you more for the fulfillment of that right based on a factor you can’t control.
Republicans lost the issue when they failed to even engage in the argument. And they’ll continue struggling against a political reality of their own making so long as they run from that argument, desperate to end-around the Bernie Sanders Medicare-for-all position.