Sanders' proposed system would essentially eliminate employer-based insurance. Our data show little difference between the people who get their healthcare from their employer and those who get it from Medicare/Medicaid/government, in terms of their ratings of their healthcare coverage and the quality of their healthcare. Both groups are quite positive about these aspects of their healthcare, but there is somewhat more dissatisfaction regarding healthcare costs among those with employer-based systems. Some 66% of those whose insurance is government-based are positive about its costs, compared with 53% of those who get it from a private source. Still, the majority are satisfied even with the costs of employer-based systems.
Two important data points provide additional context for a single-payer system.
- Americans are split on the idea of whether the government should have the responsibility "to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage," with 51% saying yes and 47% saying no.
- A second long-standing Gallup trend question gets more to the heart of the matter, asking Americans if they prefer a government-run healthcare system or a system based mostly on private health insurance. Here the tilt is toward the private system -- 55% private system and 41% government-run system in our last November asking.
Bottom line: It doesn't appear that Sanders has a strongly auspicious bed of favorable public opinion in which to plant his idea of a government-run single-payer healthcare system. Half of Americans don't think the government should be responsible for making sure people have healthcare, and more than half say that, in theory, they prefer a system run by private health insurance companies rather than by the federal government.