RALEIGH – With their hyperbolic rhetoric and increasingly Marxist utterances, one wonders if the average American is really picking up with Democrats on the national stage are putting down.
John Hood of the John Locke Foundation doesn’t think so. Actually, he thinks that the adoption of radical socialist policy positions could end up helping the GOP in the next election.
From the Carolina Journal:
“The promise of “Medicare for All” polls well. But if Democrats endorse the concept in large numbers, and make it or some other large-scale expansion of government health plans a centerpiece of the party’s brand going into the 2020 election cycle, Republicans will be among the prime beneficiaries.
How can a popular idea be politically damaging? Because it’s only popular in the abstract. A 2017 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, for example, found that 54 percent of Americans favored a single-payer plan for financing health care. The phrase “Medicare for All” polled even higher, at 62 percent.
Once voters heard some of the details, however, support dropped. When told that a single-payer plan would dislodge the role that employers play in sponsoring health plans, 17 percent of respondents switched sides, raising opposition to 60 percent. When told a single-payer plan would require higher taxes, 23 percent switched sides, raising the opposition to 66 percent.
Politicos who spend lots of time debating the finer points of public policy need to remember that most Americans, focused on their own private affairs most of the time, do not necessary hear what the politicos mean to say. According to the Kaiser poll and others, significant percentages of voters believe that even if the country adopts a single-payer system, they will be able to keep their private health plans.
North Carolina politicos who favor Medicaid expansion face a similar challenge when it comes to interpreting public opinion. If a survey question presents Medicaid as a cost-free way to extend services to the poor, you may get a favorable response.
That will change when voters learn that 1) we are talking mostly about childless adults, not poor children and their parents (although some of the latter will also benefit)*; 2) many advocates either refuse to require these new enrollees to work for Medicaid benefits, or plan to subvert any work requirements that may be included in expansion; 3) emergency-room usage is likely to go up, not down, as Medicaid expands; and 4) North Carolinians will end up paying higher state taxes or receiving fewer educational services in the long run, as the extravagant promise of near-complete federal funding of Medicaid expansion gives way to fiscal reality. […]”