Understanding the Vulnerabilities of Single Payer

Understanding the Vulnerabilities of Single Payer

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Democrats are united in the dual goals of covering everyone and lowering their health care costs. The question, though, is how to achieve those goals.

Fortunately, there are plenty of good ideas. Many policymakers and organizations have proposed ways to tackle rising costs and ensure more people have affordable health insurance. One of those ideas, however aspirational, carries substantive and political risk: single payer. To help policymakers sort out how to handle health care, we list a series of analyses, polls, articles, editorials, and op-eds that show the vulnerabilities of single-payer.



  • “Medicare for All has grown increasingly unpopular among all American voters.”
    Quinnipiac University National Poll (November 26, 2019)
  • Swing voters in Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin see Medicare for All as a "bad idea."
    Kaiser Family Foundation (November 7,  2019)
  • Support for Medicare for All dropped 5 percentage points since April while opposition increased by 9 points.
    Kaiser Family Foundation (October 15, 2019)
  • Medicare for All may have reached peak popularity. Support for Medicare for All did not budge when voters heard positive arguments for the policy but fell precipitously when voters heard negative arguments.
    Third Way (September 24, 2019)
  • 56% of registered New Hampshire Dems and unaffiliated voters would like to have a public option in addition to private insurance; 23% want to replace private insurance with a single public plan like Medicare for All.
    Monmouth  (September 24, 2019)
  • “56% of registered voters oppose a Medicare for All plan that would replace private insurance.”
    WSJ/NBC (September 22, 2019)
  • Only four-in-ten likely Democratic Iowa caucusgoers support Medicare for All, 28% fear it could cost the party the general election, 24% say it’s bad policy.
    Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll (September 22, 2019)
  • “55% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents prefer a presidential candidate who wants to build on the ACA, compared to 40% who prefer a candidate who would replace it with Medicare For All.”
    Kaiser Family Foundation (September 12, 2019)
  • Capping out-of-pocket costs ranked the third most popular option for controlling health care costs for small businesses (behind generic drugs and disclosing the list prices of drugs). Medicare for All polled 27 points lower.
    Public Private Strategies (September 10, 2019)
  • Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents support building on the Affordable Care Act (55%) over replacing the ACA with a Medicare-for-all plan (39%).
    Kaiser Family Foundation (July 30, 2019)
  • Nearly 75% of Democrats incorrectly believe Medicare for All “lets anyone buy Medicare instead of their private insurance if they want to.”
    Navigator (June 17, 2019)
  • Only 13% of Americans want Medicare for All if it means the end of private insurance.
    Matthew Sheffield, The Hill (February 7, 2019)
  • Public support for single payer drops significantly once details are known.
    Ashley Kirzinger, Cailey Muñana, and Mollyann Brodie, Kaiser Family Foundation (January 23, 2019)
  • 31% of Americans support single payer when given four options.
    Jocelyn Kiley, Pew Research Center (October 3, 2018)
  • “Fact check: Americans aren’t clamoring for single-payer health insurance.”
    Calvin Woodward and Emily Swanson, AP/Stat (September 17, 2018)

Articles, Editorials & Op-Eds


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