Today’s post is excerpted from an article from the contributing organization Medicare Advantage Plans and their team of writers. You can find the full article on their website.
Following his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden Jr. faced a number of unprecedented challenges, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis.
However, there are also multiple opportunities for major policy shifts that could impact millions of Americans. One key policy that some politicians and private citizens alike have long been advocating for is a Medicare-for-All system. While there are actually several different proposals on the table, at its core, Medicare-for-All would establish a government-run, single-payer, health care program that would cover all Americans. It is modeled on Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older, and certain younger people with disabilities or End-Stage Renal Disease.
Meanwhile, other popular possible policy changes include establishing a free public university system in the U.S.; forgiving the country’s collective $1.7 trillion in student loan debt; legalizing marijuana at the federal level, and establishing a national holiday on the Monday after the Super Bowl.
While it remains to be seen what action the Biden administration takes on these policies, we wanted to know what initiatives are most important to the American people.
Therefore, MedicareAdvantagePlans.org, in partnership with online survey platform Pollfish, conducted a survey of 1000 Americans ages 18 to 54 and older, asking them a series of questions about what they would rather see President Biden do—establish a Medicare-for-All system, or take action on another proposed policy change.
According to our survey, Medicare-for-All is an exceptionally popular proposal. Regardless of the options given, in all instances, more than half of the survey respondents expressed a preference for Medicare-for-All over the other proposal. Here is what we found:
When asked if they would rather President Biden establish a Medicare-for-All system, or designate the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday a national holiday:
74% of respondents chose Medicare-for-All
14% chose a Super Bowl national holiday
12% weren’t sure or did not respond
When asked if they would prefer a Medicare-for-All system or federal legalization of marijuana:
62% of respondents chose Medicare-for-All
25% chose marijuana legalization
13% weren’t sure or did not respond
When asked if they would prefer Medicare-for-All or a free public university system:
58% of respondents chose Medicare-for-All
20% chose a free public university system
22% weren’t sure or did not respond
Comparing the Survey Results
The closest margin was when people were asked if they would rather have Medicare-for-All, or student loan forgiveness; 51% of respondents chose Medicare-for-All, while 32% said they would rather have all of the nation’s student loan debt forgiven. Seventeen percent of respondents said they weren’t sure or preferred not to answer.
There are currently about 45 million Americans who have active student loan debt totaling nearly $1.7 trillion. The majority of borrowers, 29 million people, are between the ages of 25 and 49. Our survey found that student loan forgiveness was more popular among 25-34 year olds, with one-quarter of this group indicating their preference for this initiative, versus 17% who preferred Medicare-for-All.
Among 35–44-year-olds, the preferences were practically equal; 36% preferred Medicare-for-All, while 37% of people in this group preferred student loan forgiveness. Nearly half of respondents who are 54 and older, 46%, and more than one-quarter, 26%, of those ages 35-44, said they weren’t sure of their preference, or didn’t answer.
For 18-24-year-olds, both proposals had roughly equal support, with 6% of respondents in this age group saying they preferred Medicare for All, and 5% saying they preferred student loan forgiveness. However, 25% of respondents ages 54 and older supported Medicare-for-All, while only 17% of this age group preferred student loan forgiveness.
Despite the significant levels of student loan debt Americans hold, when asked if they would prefer a free college system, in which all public colleges and universities in the U.S. are free, or have Medicare-for-All, survey respondents chose Medicare-for-All at a rate of nearly three-to-one. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed chose Medicare-for-All, compared to 20% who said they would prefer a free college system, and 22% who did not state a preference.
More young adults between the ages of 18-34 said they favor a free college system over Medicare-for-All. Seven percent of 18–24-year-olds, and 26% of 25–34-year-olds, voiced this preference, compared to 5% of 18–24-year-olds, and 18% of 25–34-year-olds who said they would rather President Biden establish a Medicare-for-All plan. Meanwhile, 39% of respondents ages 35-44 years old said they would prefer Medicare-for-All, compared to 31% of people in the same age group who would rather have a free public college system.
Current students were evenly split on their preferences; 3% of respondents in this group said they would prefer Medicare-for-All, and 3% said they would prefer a free college system. Among those who have completed their education, 38% of respondents with a 2- or 4-year degree favored a free college system, compared to 31% of people in this group who preferred Medicare-for-All. However, among individuals whose highest level of education is high school, 28% said they would prefer to have Medicare-for-All, while 17% expressed a preference for a free public college system.
When asked whether they would prefer Medicare-for-All or federal legalization of marijuana, the overall majority of respondents, 62%, expressed a preference for Medicare-for-All. However, a sizable number of respondents, 25%, said they would rather President Biden legalize marijuana at the federal level. This comes at a time when states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, creating a nationwide patchwork of marijuana laws.
Individuals with higher levels of education tended to favor Medicare-for-All by slightly higher margins than marijuana legalization. Thirty-four percent of respondents with a 2- or 4-year degree, as well as 34% of those with a postgraduate degree, said they would prefer a Medicare-for-All system, compared to 31% of respondents with a 2- or 4-year degree, and 25% of respondents with a postgraduate degree, who would prefer to see marijuana legalized.
Thirty percent of high school graduates expressed a preference for legalized marijuana, compared to 22% of high school graduates who favored Medicare-for-All.
More older Americans and retirees expressed a preference for legalized marijuana over Medicare-for-All. Twenty-six percent of respondents ages 54 and older said they would rather have legalized marijuana, compared to 22% who said they would prefer Medicare-for-All.
The margins were closer for younger adults; 6% of 18–24-year-olds indicated a preference for Medicare-for-All, compared to 4% who would rather President Biden make marijuana legal at the federal level.
Among retirees, 13% of people in this demographic are in favor of legalized marijuana, while 8% would prefer Medicare-for-All. For those who are currently employed, the margins were reversed; 69% of respondents who are currently working said they would prefer Medicare-for-All, while 64% of respondents in this group have a preference for legalized marijuana.
At this time much political debate is ongoing about our national social safety net and what programs are needed. The FinancialVerse thought you would find the survey and its results very pertinent. We find ourselves heavily impacted by medical costs for all age cohorts. Change is needed.
To learn more about Medicare and find in-depth guides and resources to help you make educated health care decisions, visit Medicare Advantage Plans.