64% Support Single-Payer Health Care, Sort Of

A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that 64% of voters nationwide support the idea of a single-payer national health insurance plan where the federal government provides health insurance for everyone. That support comes from 80% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 45% of Republicans. That finding is consistent with data released earlier showing that 68% believe it is Very Important to provide every American with access to quality health care.

However, what voters support is far from the idea promoted by Senator Bernie Sanders and others. Sanders would eliminate private insurance options. Only 19% of voters are willing to support that approach. That includes only 23% of Democrats, 15% of Independents, and 16% of Republicans (see question wording and crosstabs). That finding is consistent with the deep commitment of Americans to individual freedom. Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters believe that freedom is more important than democracy.

Instead of banning private insurance, 81% believe every American should have a choice between the government program and a private insurance option. It is difficult to imagine any political dynamic where most voters would support giving up that choice, especially since 67% rate their own health insurance as good or excellent.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of voters also rate the quality of medical care they receive as good or excellent. Many voters (44%) believe that quality of care would suffer if people were required to buy their insurance from the government. Only 19% think it would improve. In terms of improving care, most (53%) believe that new technologies will have a bigger positive impact on health care than new government policies. Just 24% believe government policies will have a bigger impact.

This national survey of 1,001 Registered Voters was conducted August 14-15, 2018 for ScottRasmussen.com by HarrisX, a leading research company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and the Demographic profile of our sample). The Margin of Error is +/- 3.1 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Adding to the concerns about the quality of care, 42% believe the cost of care would go up if government was the only provider. Just 34% believe it would go down. Data released earlier showed that 51% believe increased competition will do more than more government regulation to reduce the cost of health care. Only 21% believe increasing regulation would be more likely to succeed.

The overall tone of this data is similar to data showing support for the concept of Socialism. While 42% of voters have at least a somewhat favorable view of socialism, they are far from supporting the ideology as it has been traditionally understood. Most who like the concept do not believe it means a more powerful government with higher taxes. A relatively small number (17%) like socialism if it means a system where the government owns most or all of the nation’s major businesses.

The same phenomenon can be found concerning Universal Basic Income. While 46% support the concept in an undefined manner, only 15% support the plan if it means providing funds to everyone regardless of their willingness to work. Among voters, there remains a strong belief that if someone is able to work and support themselves, they must do so.

The data is presented by ScottRasmussen.com to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us). Receive the latest insights each day by signing up for Scott Rasmussen’s Morning Update

Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).

Posted in Poll Results

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