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Is health insurance a right? More than half of Americans think so, report shows

Sixty percent of Americans say it's the government's job to make sure people have healthcare.
healthcare coverage, healthcare, obamacare repeal, single-payer healthcare, single payer health insurance, health insurance
Study shows growing number of Americans want government to play a bigger role in healthcare. Photo: Flickr

As Senate Republicans scramble to collect enough votes to replace Obamacare with their own healthcare bill, it seems the country is having a change of heart.

The anti-Obamacare rhetoric that got a slew of Republican lawmakers – including President Donald Trump – elected is no longer as appealing to voters, as the GOP’s replacement plan would cut off millions from insurance and do away with popular Obamacare mandates like the one that bars insurers from denying people with pre-existing conditions.

The highest number of Americans in over a decade – 60 percent – feel it’s the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage, according to a national survey by Pew Research Center.

But even more revealing are the numbers behind support for single-payer health insurance. Thirty-three percent of Americans now support such a program in which the state, financed by taxes, covers basic healthcare costs for all residents regardless of income, occupation or health status – that’s up 5 percentage points since January.

Though the issue of government responsibility in ensuring health coverage is still a deeply divisive issue, the surveys show a growing number of Republicans are changing their views about what they think about the role of government in healthcare – especially among young Republicans.

Thirty-nine percent of Republicans younger than 30 think government is responsible for providing health coverage for all, compared with 28 percent of Republicans older than 30. Twenty-two percent of younger Republicans favor single-payer healthcare compared with just 10 percent of the older cohort.

Democrats – especially liberal and younger Democrats – and young people are driving the push toward greater government involvement in healthcare. Among Democrats, 52 percent say health insurance should be provided through a single-payer system – up 9 percentage points since January. That figure jumps to 64 percent among liberal Democrats – up 13 percentage points since January.

Overall, support for a single-payer health insurance system is much greater among younger adults than older people. Two-thirds of adults younger than 30 say the government has a responsibility to provide health coverage for all, with 45 percent saying coverage should be provided through a single national program.
 

 
 
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