But much to its discredit, this respected foundation also used some pretty slimy "Harry and Louise"-style push-poll tactics in its survey in a seeming effort to tamp down the enthusiasm and give ammunition to opponents of Medicare For All.
What if, the respondents were passive-aggressively asked, "they heard" that universal guaranteed insurance would lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment, and even to rationed care? Would they still want Medicare For All then?
And what do you know: the enthusiasm for single payer suddenly dropped by a whopping 44 percentage points!
So, the inherent message is clear. People desirous of a nonprofit health care system enjoyed by every other civilized country in the world are not only befuddled, they are stubbornly set in their ways. It is not in the Kaiser pollsters' job description to inform their targets that alleged delays in treatment are simply right-wing talking points beneficial only to health care market privateers, and have little to no basis in fact.
The oft-repeated claims by Republicans of deadly, life-threatening waiting times in Canada, for example, are completely false. It's true that Canadians do have to wait longer than Americans for such elective surgeries as knee replacements and cataract removals. Even so, they have the option of paying out of pocket to a private provider if they so desire. Canadians in need of immediate care get immediate care. And on average, they live three years longer than Americans.
The malign objective of the single payer naysayers in the Oligarchic States of America is to send the message, either directly or indirectly, that Medicare For All "might be" dangerous to your health. Better to stick with the reliable economy-busting, budget-crushing predatory arrangement that we already have. It sucks for sure, but at least it's better than a world full of known unknowns and unknown knowns.
Anti-single payer pundits and politicians, meanwhile, are pouncing on Kaiser's manipulated poll results with barely contained glee. David Leonhardt of the New York Times even goes so far as to declare in his headline that Medicare For All is a "trap" for Democratic presidential contenders. They'd better be careful, or Trump might win.
It does not occur to Leonhardt to actually critique the negative push-polling inserted by Kaiser in its survey, using false information and scare tactics that are identical to those employed by such conservative, profit-driven think tanks and media outlets as the Heritage Foundation, CNBC, and the Wall Street Journal. He simply repeats the propaganda, essentially warning candidates like Kamala Harris to be careful what they promise to fickle, stupid people who simply don't understand complicated stuff:
Some 56 percent of respondents said they favored “a national plan called Medicare for All in which all Americans would get their insurance through a single government plan.” A large majority of Democrats backed the idea. Almost a quarter of Republicans did, too.It also does not seem to occur to Leonhardt that candidates who pander to voters on Medicare For All, only to cravenly walk back their support within hours via campaign flacks, as Kamala Harris did, are more apt to lose votes based upon their own shallowness and hypocrisy rather than on sincere, consistent advocacy for programs for the greater good.
The poll’s details, however, were a lot of less positive about Medicare for All. In fact, they showed why single-payer health care may turn out to be one of the few problematic issues for Democrats heading into 2020 — if the party isn’t careful. Harris has highlighted the tensions this week, saying on Monday night that she supported the most aggressive version of Medicare for All before moderating her position, via aides, late yesterday.
Who knew that people finally getting peace of mind, no longer having to worry about going bankrupt or losing their home or dying prematurely because they can't afford treatment when they get sick or hurt, would be so "tense" and even worse, "problematic?"
To paraphrase Cindy Adams: Only in America, kiddo. Only in America.