Americans Confused on Medicare for All

Thirty-five percent of Americans never heard of Medicare for All, and very few Americans appear willing to pay for the enormous cost, according to the Job Creators Network/ Weekly Pulse, released today.

“There is deep confusion about one of the biggest political catchphrases of this cycle,” said pollster Scott Rasmussen. “It sounds good on the campaign trail partly because it means very different things to different people.”

The plan proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)  would require all Americans to give up their private coverage and get their health insurance through the Medicare program. However, only 15 percent of Americans believe that’s what “Medicare for All” means. The rest think it would be optional, or that the federal government would extend Medicare coverage to people who can’t afford to purchase insurance on their own (see question wording and crosstab results).

The survey also found that only 15 percent of Americans are willing to pay more than $500 to finance the program, which the Mercatus Center recently estimated would cost $32.6 trillion in the first 10 years.

“The tax increases required to pay for the program far exceed what most people are willing to pay for it, according to our research,” said Elaine Parker, President of the Job Creators Network Foundation.

The Bernie Sanders version of Medicare for All calls for numerous tax increases to finance the program, including a four-percent “premium” based on household income, and a 7.5 percent employer “premium” based on payroll. Most Americans would pay thousands more in taxes per year. But, according to the Pulse, most Americans are willing to pay far less.

“A quarter of Americans don’t want to pay anything, and a majority would pay $500 or less,” said Parker. “The numbers definitely don’t add up.”

Parker said that news organizations, public officials and political candidates – especially those who are backing the plan – have an obligation to explain in much more detail what Medicare for All would mean for most Americans and how much it would cost.

“Right now, it’s a feel-good, bumper sticker slogan,” said Parker. “But this is a very important issue. It’s personally important to all Americans and it has big implications for the economy and the health care system. Americans deserve much more information on this issue.”

The national survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted October 22-23, 2018 by and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.

For more information about Job Creators Network, please visit

Posted in Deeper Currents, Poll Results

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