A new poll by a company with links to former Vice President Joe Biden finds Democratic support for Medicare for All is fragile and breaks over higher taxes and longer wait times for operations.
The results from the survey could provide Democratic presidential candidate Biden with a wedge issue to use against his principal rivals, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, Bloomberg reported Monday. Both senators were early and ardent supporters of the universal medicare plan that is currently used by countries like Canada and the U.K.
A majority of House Democrats now support Medicare for All. (RELATED: Mitch McConnell Tells AHA That ‘Far Left’ Medicare For All’ Is ‘Serious Bad News’)
The moderate Democratic strategic policy group Third Way requested the poll from Anzalone Liszt Grove Research. One for the firms directors is John Anzalone who is Biden’s principal pollster and a top advisor. Initial results showed a high degree of support among Democratic primary voters for Medicare for All, with 70% supporting socialized medicine and only 21% opposing it.
But further questions began to fracture that apparent consensus.
For instance, when told that universal medicare would cost American taxpayers a whopping $3.2 trillion a year, 51% of respondents wavered and found that a good reason to oppose the program. When asked if increased wait times for operations was a valid reason for ditching Medicare for All, 53% of those asked said it was. The cost of the program is projected to exceed $32 trillion over 10 years, according to a study conducted by the Mercatus Center.
Sanders dismissed the surveys as a Biden-led political attack on Medicare for All, saying in a statement, “It is unfortunate but not surprising that Vice President Biden’s polling firm is helping distort what Medicare for All is about,” he said in a statement, according to Bloomberg. “Any tax increases would be used to eliminate costs for people seeking health care.” (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Says ‘Health Care For All’ Will Require Tax Increases)
It found that the poll conducted last month surveyed 813 Democratic primary voters in the election as part of an overall sample of 1,800 likely voters. It found similar results for the larger group with support for universal medicare being eroded by details of how the system actually delivers health care and the cost of doing so, according to Anzalone Liszt Grove Research.
Jim Kessler, Third Way’s executive vice president told Bloomberg that the poll is good news for President Donald Trump and Republicans who steadfastly reject socialized medicine. “Trump is deeply underwater on health care and the only lifeline that could pull him to shore is Medicare for All.”