- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2019

More voters back a government-run “public option” for health care over a national “Medicare-for-All,” according to a new survey released Wednesday.

The Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll found that health care remains the top issue for Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters and that 65% of all voters favor a public option compared to 53% of voters who support a national Medicare-for-All.

The battle over the best way to expand access to health care to the uninsured and lower costs has raged on in the 2020 Democratic presidential race. The issue is expected to drive part of the debate when 10 candidates meet on stage for the fifth debate Wednesday in Atlanta.

Sens. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have vowed to fight for a Medicare for All plan that would basically abolish private insurance.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, among others, have called for a government-run public option to compete with private health insurance plans.

Support for the public option has dropped 8% since last month and falls more in line with the poll findings from September.

Still, the KFF survey showed that 88% of Democrats, 69% of independents and 41% of Republicans support a public option, while 77% of Democrats, 52% of independents and 28% of Republicans prefer Medicare for All.

It also found that roughly half of Democrats want the presidential contenders to explain more about how their health care plans will impact current Medicare recipients, whether they will require higher taxes and how they plan to pass them through Congress.

The national survey was conducted Nov. 7-12 and included a random digital telephone sample of 1,205 adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 3% points.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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