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Audience members greet Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during an event to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2017 in Washington, D.C, September 13, 2017. (Photo: Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Democrats Don't Just Support Medicare for All, 84% in New Poll Want Party Leaders to Make It 'Extremely Important Priority'

"Are you listening?" party Leaders asked as new Politico/Harvard survey shows more than 8 in 10 Democrats think covering everyone "through taxpayer-fund national plan" should be urgent pursued

Jon Queally

'Are you listening?'

That was the question posed by healthcare justice advocates to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi—and potential Democratic presidential candidates as well—after another new poll showed overwhelming support for Medicare for All by Democratic Party voters.

"They may have the money. But we have the people."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
According to the Politico/Harvard poll (pdf), released Monday, a full 84 percent of Democrats says "providing health insurance coverage for everyone through a taxpayer-funded national plan like MedicareForAll" should "be an extremely important priority" for the party. Politico reports:

While support for a national, taxpayer-funded plan is concentrated on the Democratic side, 60 percent of Republican respondents backed allowing Americans under 65 to buy into Medicare (71 percent of respondents overall supported the idea, and 83 percent of Democrats).

The poll involved a series of questions that made distinctions between a Medicare for All system that covered everyone, a possible "buy-in" option for people under 65, and a more vague "public option" that could be purchased. "The poll showed most people weren't aware of a Medicare buy-in or public option," Politico noted, "but were broadly supportive of the ideas when informed about them."

While numerous polls over the last two years have shown increasingly high levels for a single-payer approach or Medicare For All solution to the nation's healthcare crisis, many Democratic Party leaders have clung to their reluctance of the idea.

Last week, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, the former governor of Virginia who says he is contemplating a run for president, warned the party away from bold solutions like Medicare for All, saying voters are not ready for policies that he characterized, without evidence, of being "unrealistic."

But those pushing for Medicare for All say the political winds are at their back as the polling continues to suggest the American people are ready to join the rest of the world's developed nations by creating a healthcare system that includes everybody and leaves nobody out.

 While leaders like Pelosi and Schumer have yet to embrace Medicare for All fully, there has been movement. As the Democrats took control of the House last week, and the Speaker's gavel was returned to Pelosi, it was announced that major committees would hold hearings on Medicare For All this year, a development advocates called a "giant step." Meanwhile, progressive organizing continues to swell with National Nurses United, the nation's largest nurses union, holding "barnstorming" events nationwide next month to demand Medicare for All and the Democratic Socialists of America continuing their door-to-door and grassroots campaigning.

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) said on Tuesday morning: "The fight for Medicare for all will be opposed by all of the special interests—drug companies, insurance companies, Wall Street—who make billions from our dysfunctional health care system. They may have the money. But we have the people."

The Politico/Harvard poll surveyed 1,013 adults between Dec. 11-16. The margin of error is between plus or minus 3.7 and 5.2 percentage points.


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