Wisconsin Public Radio

State Voters Lean Against Medicare for All

Poll shows 47% prefer it while 53% prefer improving Affordable Care Act.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Feb 12th, 2020 01:56 pm


Health care was a big issue in the 2018 midterm elections. And there are indications it could be again.

In his State of the Union speech last week, President Donald Trump talked about prescription drug costs, “Medicare for All” and pre-existing conditions. Democratic candidates hoping to challenge him in November are also talking about health care on the campaign trail.

Medicare for All would create a national health insurance program with coverage provided to everyone.

The proposal has divided the Democratic presidential candidates and a recent poll throws some cold water on Vermont’s U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ signature issue. But one of Sanders biggest supporters in Wisconsin, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, dismisses the poll by the left-leaning group Third Way and Change Research.

The organizations polled voters in three battleground states that supported former President Barack Obama in 2016 and voted for Trump two years later. These states — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan — are sometimes referred to as the “Blue Wall.”

In Wisconsin, 993 likely voters were asked to choose their top priority: reducing the cost of health care and prescriptions drugs or guaranteeing health care to all. The former garnered 60 percent while universal coverage was supported by 30 percent.

One way to achieve universal coverage is Medicare for All. Forty-seven percent indicated support for that while 53 percent favored improving the Affordable Care Act, according to the poll.

“Health care is an issue that Democrats really need to win handily in order to beat Trump,” said Jim Kessler, executive vice president for policy at Third Way. “A lot of polling has found that Trump has a deep deficit on health care among voters. Well, Trump’s lifeline is Medicare for All. If he’s running his plan versus Medicare for All, he can fight health care to a draw.”

Pocan, D-Wisconsin, doesn’t think the polling accurately reflects how Wisconsinites feel about Medicare for All, which is supported by Sanders and U.S Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, who is also running for president.

Pocan has endorsed Sanders and will chair his Wisconsin campaign. He also co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“Often it’s how you ask the question that matters, but I can tell you from being on the ground in Wisconsin and going to states where primaries are up, people understand what Medicare for All really is and people are really desperate to have health insurance for their families,” Pocan said.

A national poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found a majority of Democrats and independents favor a national Medicare For All plan while most Republicans oppose it.

Kaiser Family Foundation polling also found support for Medicare for All shifts significantly when people hear arguments about potential tax increases or delays in medical tests and treatment.

The Third Way poll indicated one third of those asked confused Medicare for All with a public option, which would allow people to buy into a government health insurance program or keep their own private coverage. This is favored by Democratic presidential candidates: Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana; U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota; and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Listen to the WPR report here.

Poll: Wisconsin Divided On Health Care Changes was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

One thought on “State Voters Lean Against Medicare for All”

  1. Duane says:

    This poll shows 53 percent of WI prefer the ACA, I don’t know if I believe that, but what does it matter if the Supreme Court rules the ACA unconstitutional next year after the 2020 election?

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