As GOP health plan hits wall, public support grows for ‘single-payer’ coverage

An increasing number of Americans now support a “single-payer” system of health insurance, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.

“Overall, 33% of the public now favors such a ‘single payer’ approach to health insurance, up 5 percentage points since January and 12 points since 2014,” writes Pew associate director of research Jocelyn Kiley.

Results of the survey were announced Friday, one day after Senate Republicans unveiled their version of the American Health Care Act passed by the GOP-dominated House in early May.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had hoped to force a vote on the Senate legislation before the July 4 recess, but abandoned those plans Tuesday after negative fallout from a Congressional Budget Office analysis that estimated 22 million would lose health coverage by 2026 if the bill became law.

The Pew survey shows that 60 percent of respondents believe the federal government should be responsible for ensuring all Americans have healthcare coverage, which is up from 51 percent in 2016 and, Kiley writes, “at its highest level in nearly a decade.”

Not surprisingly, opinions about the government’s role in healthcare fell heavily along partisan lines: 85 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said the federal government is responsible for ensuring health coverage, while 68 percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican said it isn’t.

While 9 percent of Republicans said the federal government shouldn’t be involved at all in providing health insurance, nearly six in 10 (57 percent) said programs such as Medicare and Medicaid should be continued.

Pew conducted the survey of more than 2,500 adults from June 8 to June 18.

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