On Monday, Campus Reform released a video in which Cabot Phillips speaks with students at George Washington University about “Medicare for All.”
“So the main issue that Democrats have taken up, and [are] running against Trump on, is health care,” Phillips said. “The policy right now that they’re proposing is Medicare for All, which is the idea of government-funded health care for everyone. Is that a concept you view favorably or unfavorably?”
As expected, all of the students who were questioned said that, to one degree or another, they approved of Medicare for All.
“Favorably, for sure.”
“I do support Medicare for All.”
“I do think that every American deserves health care.”
“I do support that. I think it’s an important form of universal heath care.”
“I do support free health care for everybody.”
“In general, I would say yes. I do favor Medicare.”
A Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) supporter wearing a pink and gray scarf told Phillips that she didn’t believe he could say anything that would have her “view it unfavorably.”
Phillips then outlined some of the consequences of a Medicare for All system, and asked each participant to tell him whether they “view them favorably or unfavorably.”
“So, first off, it is mandatory, so it would be – over a hundred million people right now have private insurance plans that they like – they would be removed from those plans by the government,” Phillips stated. “It would be mandatory, and they would be put on the government plan, even if they didn’t want to. Is that something that concerns you at all?”
A female student wearing a black backpack said it “probably” concerns her. Another female student holding an orange cup agreed, saying she views that aspect of the plan “unfavorably.”
A male student holding a water bottle and another male student in a pink T-shirt indicated an unfavorable position.
“I mean, they shouldn’t be like kicked off of it, I guess. That’s not really – that doesn’t seem fair,” said the student in the pink tee.
A student with a beard and glasses who had previously indicated that he favored “free” health care said that the “government can’t force” Americans onto its plan, to which Phillips replied: “Well, that’s what this would do.”
Orange cup shared a similar sentiment, noting that while she believes “everyone should have health care,” Americans shouldn’t be stripped of their private plans.
The Sanders supporter remained steadfast: “I mean, as a Bernie support, I think you do have to give up some choice just for the benefit of everyone in society.”
Phillips moved on to another ramification of enacting a Medicare for All system.
“So, the second part – it would eliminate private health insurance, the entire industry. It would be just under a million jobs [that] would be eliminated because all insurance [is] moved to the government,” he said.
Most of the students stated that they viewed such a consequence “unfavorably.” Orange cup even went as far as to say that she believes “having jobs and being able to make a living and … survive on your own and take care of your family is more important than everybody having health care.”
Black backpack added that “the way someone wants to insure their life and their health is their choice.”
A student wearing a white T-shirt told Phillips that he was “fine with that,” leading to the following exchange:
WHITE TEE: People can have health care, you know, regardless of whether its private or governmental they will have health care –
PHILLIPS: But this would eliminate private health care.
WHITE TEE: Yeah, you know, and either way it’s still health care, you know?
Phillips moved on to the final detail.
“In the Bernie Sanders proposal – it would be about $32 trillion over the next decade – that would be every American paying about one-fifth of their income toward funding it. Is that a concern?” he asked.
The student with the beard and glasses was confused, asking: “You have to pay for it?”
Phillips replied: “Yes, so taxes will go up.”
The student shot back: “You still have to pay for it? I don’t support that.” He later added, “I just think that’s a lot and it’s just like, health care is definitely important and crucial, but there’s also other things that people are trying to worry about.”
Black backpack echoed that sentiment, emphasizing the adverse impact it might have on “low-income” families.
Pink tee said he would view the tax burden in an “unfavorable” light if he were on his own financially.
The student holding the water bottle laughed and said, “No comment.”
When asked if the information troubled her, orange cup replied in the affirmative, adding: “I didn’t know those facts before. Now I’m kind of debating on if I’m supporting Medicare for All now.”
Pink tee still wasn’t sure, although he said the information did “shock” him.
Black backpack said the information “could change [her] mind,” but “the overall goal is worthy of conversation.”
Phillips pressed white tee, asking him what his message was to people who want to keep the insurance they already have.
Tee offered an incoherent answer: “I mean, you know, regardless, I feel like insurance you can keep – here’s – I don’t really know much, I’m just [saying my] support, I [mumbles] just governmental stuff, but personally, yeah, it’s …”
Lastly, Phillips asked a female student from Venezuela if she viewed Medicare for All favorably or unfavorably.
She replied: “Where I come from … we used to have health care for all, right? But I feel like, for us particularly, it didn’t work. We’re socialist. It really hurt us as a country.”