Most Americans Would Prefer Single-Payer Over Obamacare

Despite a persistent assumption that a federal, single-payer healthcare system in the United States is not only too far fetched but too unpopular as an idea to ever be realized, a new poll reveals something rather different.

According to Gallup, most Americans — 58 percent — say they would prefer to see the Affordable Care Act replaced with a government-run health program that would insure all Americans.

The Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as Obamacare, isn’t nearly as popular, as somewhat more Americans would support the repeal of the ACA (51 percent) than would favor keeping it as it is (48 percent). However, it should certainly be acknowledged that support for the ACA has grown gradually since its implementation.

Though a hypothetical single-payer healthcare program seems to be overtaking the ACA in terms of popularity, a significant development on its own, the way opinions break along partisan lines is perhaps the most interesting revelation from Gallup’s poll.

Nearly three-quarters of all Democrats (and those who are Democrat-leaning) say they would like to see the ACA replaced with federal single-payer. Oddly, however, in response to a separate question, a slightly higher number of Democrats and leaners (79 percent) say they want the ACA to remain in place.

Republicans (and their leaners) are particularly surprising in their responses. Though four in five say they would like to see the ACA repealed, surprisingly, half of that group would support implementing single-payer healthcare in its place. Only 55 percent of Republicans say they would oppose that action.

It’s difficult to overstate the profundity of those figures — and their undeniable irony. As a political party, the Republicans have made concerted efforts to successfully derail single-payer healthcare at every turn since its proposal under the Clinton administration in the 1990s.

When President Obama campaigned for it, he quickly met resistance and instead opted to push for what he likely viewed as a middle-ground solution in the form of Heritage Foundation-authored healthcare policy — the Affordable Care Act. Since the ACA was signed into law, Congressional Republicans have made ceaseless, futile efforts to have the ACA repealed.

Why are Republicans and Democrats alike looking to a federally organized single-payer healthcare system? The benefits of the ACA are undeniable. New figures show that 7.4 million Americans became insured between 2014 and 2015. Other studies have found that the number of Americans facing difficulties paying their medical bills have fallen from 22 percent to 17.3 percent since 2013.

As laudable as these figures are, the ACA still has significant blind spots. Last year 28.6 million Americans — almost one in 10 — were still uninsured. And that’s not for trying. Many Americans in low-income jobs earn slightly too much to qualify under the ACA’s expanded Medicaid programs and cannot reasonably afford insurance with out-of-reach deductibles, finding the fines a comparatively preferable alternative.

One of the core pieces of the Affordable Care Act — funding for subsidies paid to private insurers — is already at risk following a recent federal court ruling that determined the White House didn’t have the authority to do this.

Though Congressional Republicans are cheering this, the decision drives at the fundamental flaw of Obama’s healthcare program: It mandates that most Americans purchase private insurance. One of the well-reported aspects of the ACA implementation was the expensive, poorly-designed website meant to pair Americans with a private insurer.

The ACA was largely inspired by policy drafted by the right-wing, pro-private sector think tank known as the Heritage Center — so it should come as no surprise that it promotes private business interests through government policy.

This is a very different approach to healthcare reform in the U.S. than a single-payer program that would, by its very nature, insure all Americans within a system that is not driven by profit (the factor that pushes for the unnecessarily inflation of medical costs).

How can the United States finally get a government-run, universal single-payer program? Despite the majority saying they would back such a policy, only one candidate in the race for president has made this proposal: Sen. Bernie Sanders. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she’d fight to keep the ACA as it is now, while presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has said he’ll repeal it and replace it (though with what, he has yet to specify).

Colorado, no stranger to experimental and progressive legislation, will have a proposal for statewide single-payer healthcare on ballots this November. If successful, it may prove that the most practical path to such reform in the U.S. may have to happen state by state, rather than on a federal level.

Photo Credit: monkeybusinessimages / Thinkstock

94 comments

William Davis
William Davis1 years ago

If you think the cost and ease of access to care is bad now, just wait a couple years under a Trump administration. If you ever thought about becoming an activist, NOW IS THE TIME. Search for and volunteer with your local, state or national organizations. If you don't have the time, these organizations can always use your financial support for paying staff, printing and other promotional costs, economic impact studies, etc.
IT REALLY IS UP TO YOU. Power concedes nothing without a demand. DEMAND the most cost efficient, universal, comprehensive healthcare system known, #HR676 #Medicare4All
Watch FIXITHealthcare.com, Visit Healthcare-now.org, pnhp.org, SPANOhio.org or other state groups.

SEND
Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

ObamaCare has been a disaster! It pays almost nothing! We are paying more out of pocket than we did before! Our office visit has gone from $25 to $90. We pay all of our prescription costs and almost everything else. It does pay all my mammograms but I was getting them free anyway through a grant. The ObmaCare insurance is a disgrace!

SEND
Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

We dont have a health care crisis in this country....we have an INSURANCE crisis.

SEND
Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

And here comes the class clown yet again bringing the word communism into the picture when no one is talking about communism. David......WE DO NOT HAVE A FREE MARKET AND COSTS AND PRICES ARE NOT BEING CONTROLLED.....because the oligarchy simply doesn't care,. Drug prices are soaring at ludicrous levels........to them Free market means free reign to do any damned thing they want. We need BALANCE David. But worry your narrow minded head too much. While you are in her spewing john bircher nonsense the millennials are ALREADY transforming there world into things your mind is too atrophied to understand. Enjoy your final fling while you can. Already your brain is being left behind.

SEND
Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

Both countries allow you to purchase extra insurance to get things fast if you choose. The can and and would be offered here if we ever go single payer. SOMEHOW we must get insurance companies out of the game or regulate them.

SEND
Elaine Bauer
Elaine Bauer2 years ago

Most Americans would scream and flee from the heavy taxation that this sort of healthcare would require! Most Americans do not have the patience to wait months for Specialist visits and treatment. And - no; I am not a right-winger; I've just had family subjected to these issues in Britain and Canada; some of whom didn't survive the wait!

SEND
Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

The ACA was always simply a stop gap measure......and I suspect a way to expose that insurance companies care about NOTHING but profit.....and they didn't care how they make it. The insurance companies have exposed themselves.......from the very beginning they have taken advantage of every single loophole to cover the least amount of poor and truly sick people as they could. They have NO desire to do anything but make as massive a profit as they can......at the expense of the sick. Anyone with more that two brain cells knew the ACA was simply a stepping stone.....with the hope that the insurance industry would see the light and reform themselves. They have proven they cant and wont. Single payer is becoming more and more inevitable......no matter how much screaming and angst comes from some on the right.

SEND
Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

WE are slowly but surely going to single payer no matter how much the right hates it.
Insurance companies are the biggest problem. There is NO problem with our health care itself. The insurance companies and the drug companies etc all feed each other and set up systems that are beneficial to themselves....not us. Someone brought up how many MRIs we have compared to others. We use MRIs FAR too often as it is. Having MORE enriches the system and doesn't help the actual health of US. David YOU and your backward thinkers who are afraid of anything new dont want it. Dont say WE as if you are talking for the country. Canada's plan is FINE, and you can even buy more access if you wish to pay for immediate care. Our system is SICK, David. Just because you dont wish to see it doesn't change the reality. Litigation IS a problem.....but thats because our legal system is ALSO sick and tarnished by greed. Drs are SICK of the insurance companies running their practices too. Things would work WONDERFUL David if everyone in the system was honest and cared about people's health, But far too many are there to take any amount of money they can squeeze out.......and the Insurance companies are some of the worst at it.

SEND