The Iowa Caucuses Showed That Medicare for All Is Still a Winner

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    The debacle in Iowa has produced delayed results and a flurry of questions about the Democratic Party’s capacity to hold a fair and transparent primary process.

    But in the midst of it all, exit polls point to a surprise winner that wasn’t even on the ballot: Medicare for All (M4A). According to polling conducted by Edison Research, some 57 percent of Iowa caucusgoers favor a single-payer system that eliminates private insurance, compared to 38 percent opposed.

    Much of the recent commentary surrounding the health-care policy debate has noted a drop in support for M4A among Democrats — albeit in the wake of a concerted industry effort to undermine it that’s been taken up, directly and indirectly, by many candidates running for the party’s presidential nomination.

    Seen in this light, the results out of Iowa suggest special interests have indeed made some headway in their campaign to keep the provision of health insurance expensive, cumbersome, and profitable for shareholders. In September 2017, for example, polling put M4A support at around 70 percent among Democrats. And, as Slate’s Jordan Weissmann observed last October: “The phrase ‘Medicare for All’ tended to poll well early on, but its popularity tended to drop once respondents were told it would require them to give up their private insurance.” It’s notable, then, that the question posed in Edison Research’s Iowa exit poll included direct language about the replacement of private insurance with a single-payer model — and still more notable that M4A continues to score so well with Democratic primary voters given the obstacles and organized opposition it faces.

    Elsewhere this week, Morning Consult also noted a drop in overall support for M4A across self-identified Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Yet its analysis took care to emphasize the robustness and resilience of single-payer health care in the face of the concerted campaign to undermine its popular image:

    Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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