1 in 4 Republicans support universal health care

Published: 9/27/2021

Key Findings

  • 25% of Republicans want a single government-run healthcare program
  • 12% of Republicans want to abolish Medicare and Medicaid
  • 1/3 of young Republicans want a single government-run healthcare system
  • Those who wish to abolish government-run healthcare programs cite lack of efficiency, poor quality of care, and abuse

While Republican politicians have long resisted the creation of a single, government-run healthcare program, a recent survey from MedicarePlans.com finds that one-quarter of Republican voters are willing to cede healthcare control to the federal government.

In May, we surveyed 1,250 Americans of all political affiliations, gauging their views on the optimal system for delivering healthcare in the U.S.

25% of Republicans support universal health care

Overall, 31% of all survey respondents say healthcare in the U.S. should be delivered via a single government-run system, a proposal often known as universal health care.

This idea has higher support among Democrats, as the party’s progressive stalwarts have been advocating for expanding the government’s role in providing healthcare for decades. Forty percent of Democratic voters we surveyed say they believe healthcare should be provided through a single government-run program.

However, in a more surprising finding, 25% of all Republicans also choose this as their preferred method of healthcare delivery.

Young Republicans more likely to favor Medicare-for-All

When broken down by age, young Republicans are more likely than older Republicans to support a government-run healthcare system.

Thirty percent of Republicans ages 18-34 support a government-run healthcare system, as do 29% of Republicans ages 35-54. Only 9% 55 and older support this type of system.

A similar pattern plays out among Democrats. Forty percent of Democrats ages 18-34, and 41% of those 35-54 want a single-government run healthcare plan, compared to 33% of Dems who are older than 54.

Majority of Americans still support combining Medicare with private insurance programs

The nation’s current healthcare system, a mixture of public and private insurance options, remains the most popular option. Fifty-seven percent of all respondents are in favor of this continuing.

Support for a public-private mix is highest among independent voters, 63% of whom selected this option. Sixty-one percent of Republicans, and 53% of Democrats favor this system as well.

As of 2019, roughly 177 million Americans, or 55% of the total U.S. population, had private health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Meanwhile, 35% of the population, approximately 113 million people, had health insurance provided by the government, through Medicare, Medicaid, or the military.

Republicans three times more likely to support Medicare abolishment

Despite the imperfections of current government-run healthcare programs, removing the government entirely from providing healthcare coverage to Americans does not have much widespread support. Only 8% of all survey respondents think healthcare coverage should only be provided by privately-run companies.

Twelve percent of Republicans support abolishing all government-run programs, compared to only 4% of Democrats.

When asked why they think Medicare and Medicaid should be abolished, the reasons most cited by Republicans are that private companies are more efficient (53%); they deliver better care (50%); people abuse public programs (43%), and public-run programs lead to socialism (40%).

Methodology

All data found within this report derives from a survey commissioned by MedicarePlans.com, and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish. In total, 1,250 American adults were surveyed. This survey was conducted over a two-day span, starting on May 27, 2021, and ending on May 28, 2021. All respondents were asked to answer all questions truthfully and to the best of their abilities. For full survey data, please email Julia Morrissey at [email protected].