‘Medicare-for-all’ support plunges when Americans told of negative side effects: poll

Americans broadly support a “Medicare-for-all” plan of the kind being pushed by a host of Democratic 2020 hopefuls, according to a recent poll -- but that support nosedives once they are informed that it may result in higher taxes or delays in receiving treatment.

The poll, released by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, found that Americans, on the surface, back the increased government involvement in the health care system by 56 percent to 42 percent.

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The idea of “Medicare-for-all” has long been championed by left-wing Democrats like 2016 presidential primary candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., but has more recently been embraced by a number of 2020 hopefuls.

On the face of it, the poll appears to be good news for Democrats looking to get President Trump out of the White House in 2020 -- particularly as "Medicare-for-all" support increased to as much as 71 percent if people were told that the policy would guarantee health insurance as a right or eliminate premiums.

However, if they were told the plan could lead to higher taxes, support dropped to 37 percent. If respondents were told that it could lead to waiting lists for treatment, support dropped to 26 percent.

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The Kaiser Health Tracking Poll was conducted Jan. 9-14 and involved random calls to the cellphones and landlines of 1,190 adults. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The poll may be unlikely to disrupt Democrats' alignment behind “Medicare-for-all” plans, particularly as the party moves increasingly to the left on a host of issues from health care to the economy to the environment.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who announced her candidacy for 2020 last week, doubled down on her support of “Medicare-for-all” on Wednesday after a barrage of criticism for suggesting it would mean the end of private health plans.

"Medicare-for-all is the plan that she believes will solve the problem and get all Americans covered. Period,” Harris campaign national press secretary Ian Sams told Fox News.

“She has co-sponsored other pieces of legislation that she sees as a path to getting us there, but this is the plan she is running on,” he added, suggesting potential support for other options as well.

Fox News' Paul Steinhauser and The Associated Press contributed to this report.