Poll: Majority of voters say they would pay more taxes for universal health coverage

A majority of voters say they would pay more taxes if it meant that all Americans would receive health insurance coverage, according to a Hill-HarrisX poll released on Wednesday.

The nationwide survey showed that 55 percent of registered voters would support paying more taxes so that everyone could receive health insurance, compared to 45 percent of those polled who said they would not support such a move.

The vote was split largely along party lines with 73 percent of voters who identified as Democrats saying they were strongly in favor of paying more taxes to ensure broader health coverage, compared to just 37 percent of voters who identified as Republicans.

Independents, meanwhile, were almost evenly split on the issue with 47 percent saying they would support paying more taxes for increasing health coverage, compared to 49 percent who opposed it.

Health care coverage and how to pay for it has become a leading issue in the Democratic presidential primary.

Several 2020 contenders have sparred over one approach that’s being touted by progressive Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) known as “Medicare for All.” The proposed government-run plan would essentially abolish private insurance in favor of a single government-run plan that covers everyone.

Both candidates, particularly Warren, have come under fire for how they would pay for the ambitious proposal.

Sanders has said his plan would raise taxes on the middle class, but that it would lower health care costs. Warren, meanwhile, has faced backlash for previously avoiding questions over how she would specifically pay for Medicare for All and whether her plan would include raising taxes.

After facing attacks from rivals during the October debate over the issue, Warren released a transition plan last week for how she would move the country towards a Medicare for All system within her first term as president.

According to an outline of her proposal, Warren’s first step would involve passing legislation to dramatically increase the availability of government-run insurance. Her plan also includes expanding ObamaCare coverage and expanding a public health insurance option for low-income families.

But the move did not quiet attacks from centrists 2020 hopefuls like South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden, who were quick to criticize the plan following its release last Friday.

While Buttigieg’s campaign claimed that Warren’s plan leaves Americans with no choice in choosing health coverage, Biden’s camp accused the senator of “trying to muddy the waters even further.”

Both Biden and Buttigieg have said they support plans to offer government insurance to those that need or want it, but allow for those who have private insurance to keep it is they choose.

Medicare for All is likely to dominate the conversation once again in Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Atlanta, which will feature 10 candidates.

The Hill-HarrisX poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters between Nov. 16-Nov. 17. The margin of error for the full sampling is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

— Tess Bonn 









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