Saturday, May 30, 2015

Support For A Public Option In Health Insurance Is Growing

There is little doubt that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) improved the health care system in this country. Even those who say they don't like it don't want to give up most of the changes made by the law. But most Americans also know that Obamacare didn't solve all of the problems of our health care system -- and most would like to see either expansion or changes to the law.

And one of those changes that has been growing in popularity is a "public option" -- which would give all Americans the right to purchase insurance from the government (like a Medicare-for-all) instead of buying insurance from a private company. Nearly half of the population (46%) is in favor of a public option being offered, while only 30% would be opposed to that. That's a big difference from when the law was passed a few years ago (when most people seemed to be against a public option for insurance).

And this plurality in favor of offering a public option exists for both men and women, and among all age groups but one -- those 65 and over. I find this strange, because that's the only group (except for the poor) that has government insurance (Medicare). It's not because they don't like Medicare. Medicare (along with Social Security) is one of the most popular programs in the country among those over 65 (and among the general population). Maybe this age group thinks offering a public option to others will somehow affect their own Medicare.

I would be in favor of offering a public option. Actually, I think we should go even further that that -- and put all Americans on a single-payer government-run insurance system -- but the country doesn't seem to be ready for that. They don't yet understand that a single-payer system would not only cover everyone, but would reduce the amount of money currently being sent on medical care. But offering a public option would be good, because it would be one more step toward a single-payer system.

These charts were made from information in a new YouGov Poll -- done between May 23rd and 25th of a random national sample of 1,000 adults, with about a 4 point margin of error.

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