General Election May Turn on Mandatory Medicare for All

For Release: Cary, NC October 21  -- A new nationwide survey from HealthPrep Data Services reveals that a strong majority of Americans do not prefer a mandatory Medicare for All policy, instead opting for either a Medicare for All option or no new federal program at all.

The survey, conducted on 1500 voting-age Americans found that an overwhelming majority of Americans would prefer a Medicare for All "Option" or no change to the current healthcare system at all compared to a mandatory Medicare for All option.

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In a rather stunning disparity, the optional Medicare for All policies like candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg's "Medicare for All Who Want It" are preferred more than 2:1 over the mandatory programs presented by front-runners Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders.

The study comes on the heals of the latest Democratic debate in which candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg pressed Senator Warren on her plan which would end private insurance and place all Americans on a single-payer, Medicare for All plan. Buttigieg proposes an alternate plan, which he calls "Medicare for All Who Want It" which would produce a public, subsidized option that would compete with private insurers.

Senator Warren has become a target as her performance in polls has increased relative to former front-runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. The mounting pressure from other candidates may not be the only source of consternation for Senator Warren who must also contend with polls strongly indicating that Americans prefer an opt-in program like the one proposed by Mayor Buttigieg to a mandatory overhaul of the existing private insurance system.

Perhaps most disconcerting regarding the mandatory Medicare for All policy proposal is that no demographic slice (segmented by age, sex, and/or region) favors a mandatory Medicare for All program over either the optional policy proposal or no new program whatsoever. For example, women (who are more likely to self-identify as Democrats - Gallup) support the Medicare option even more disproportionately (+4%) relative to the mandatory Medicare for all proposals.

Majority Flips on Issue of Optional vs. Mandatory

Of particular interest is the breakdown of majority preferences based on which policy makes it to the general election. In two separate polls of 1500 voting-age Americans, HealthPrep Data Services verified that approximately 4% of the population flips specifically on the issue of the "mandatory" vs. "optional" Medicare for All.

While there is still a great deal of time between now and the general election, candidates looking to pivot from the primary may need to consider the uncertainty of voters towards an immediate health care overhaul as they prefer a graduated approach.

About the Surveys

Three individual surveys were conducted between October 14 and October 21, each consisting of 1500 voting-age Americans. Each survey asked a single question. For further questions, please contact Data Services either by email [email protected] or by phone at (641) 715-3900 ext 999850.

Raw Survey Data

  • [XLSX] Survey Comparing Optional, Mandatory, and No Medicare for All

  • [XLSX] Survey Comparing Optional Medicare for All with No Healthcare Changes
  • [XLSX] Survey Comparing Mandatory Medicare for All with No Health Care Changes
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