The Slatest

Poll: Fans of Sanders Single-Payer System Change Minds When They Hear What “Single-Payer” Means

Bernie Sanders on Wednesday in Columbia, South Carolina.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

The logical contradictions of election season are well-captured in a new poll by the AP which finds that a plurality of Americans support Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan—and that pluralities of those people also change their mind when they’re told it would involve raising taxes and giving up employer insurance, which are basic parts of the plan as Sanders has proposed it. From the AP:

A slim plurality of 39 percent supports replacing the private health insurance system with a single government-run, taxpayer-funded plan that would cover medical, dental, vision and long-term care, with 33 percent opposed.

In other words, more people than not support the idea of change in the abstract. But:

Asked whether they would continue to support Sanders’ plan if their own taxes went up, under a third of initial supporters of the plan would keep backing it. About 4 out of 10 flipped to opposition.

About the same share of initial backers would ditch single-payer if it meant that people had to give up employer coverage. Twenty-eight percent would continue to support it.

You can see the complete poll results here and see Sanders’ description of his plan here. (It’s worth noting that many people could end up paying less for health care overall under Sanders’ plan even with higher tax rates because they’d no longer be paying insurance premiums. Giving up employer-sponsored coverage, though, is just a necessary part of a single-player plan by definition.) 

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.