Health care the focus of campaign
The race for the Democratic presidential nomination is far from finished, as New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary is still about six months away. And in this still relatively early stage, some of the recent polling data leaves us scratching our heads.
Tuesday, a Suffolk University/Boston Globe survey taken after the most recent Democratic debates indicated 21% of 500 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters prefer former Vice President Joe Biden as their favorite candidate. Meanwhile, 17% picked U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who won the Granite State primary in 2016.
The fascinating part of this is that the same poll showed that a full 85% of those surveyed said they support the expensive and ambitious “Medicare for All” single-payer health care plan.
This leaves us somewhat perplexed, because Biden has made it clear he DOES NOT support Medicare for All.
“I understand the appeal of Medicare for All, but folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare – and I’m not for that,” Biden said in a recent video message.
Biden maintains that Democrats promoting Medicare for All will make government-run health care mandatory, which he said is the wrong approach.
Sanders, meanwhile, leaves no doubt about his position on government-run health care. The self-proclaimed democratic socialist has advocated for a single-payer system for many years.
“Under Medicare for All, ‘medical billing’ would become obsolete. You shouldn’t get a bill for the crime of wanting to be healthy,” Sanders shared on Tuesday via Twitter.
Among the other top Democratic contenders, both U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, and U.S. Kamala Harris, D-California, have also advocated for versions of Medicare for All.
Biden, meanwhile, favors reinforcing Obamacare. This plan is officially called the Affordable Care Act, but became known as Obamacare during the fierce debates it generated when then-President Barack Obama was promoting it about a decade ago.
Biden said his plan is to create a public option, which would allow those who want to pay to participate in a government health care system to do so. Efforts to pass the public option with Obamacare 10 years ago failed because there was not enough support for it in Congress.
Perhaps some of the Democrats who answered the Suffolk/Globe poll are just confused. On the other hand, they could be so determined to defeat President Donald Trump in next year’s general election that they are simply selecting Biden because he seems like the candidate with the best chance to do so.
Either way, Biden has made it clear that he does not support Medicare for All, while Sanders, Warren and Harris do. This should be one of the major points of focus for the campaign moving forward.