You would think the term “Medicare For All” would be a clue, but no.

Next time a progressive shows you a poll “proving” that Americans want single-payer, inform him or her that Americans quite literally don’t know what they’re talking about.

Which is another way of saying that we may have to enact socialism in order to find out what’s in it:

The same poll found that Americans do understand that taxes will go up after Medicare For All passes and that private insurance would no longer be the “primary” way Americans get coverage. But they seem to have convinced themselves that private insurance will still be around, there if you need it in case you don’t like the new government program. Imagine their surprise when President Bernie sits them down for a national heart-to-heart in 2021.

This isn’t a fluke result either, notes HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn. A separate poll conducted a few weeks ago found the same confusion:

In both surveys Republicans are better informed about this ostensibly bread-and-butter Democratic issue than Democrats are. I think it’s because righties were primed by the ObamaCare debate 10 years ago to fear single-payer more than liberals were primed to welcome it. The Republican attack on O-Care was that it was the first step towards an eventual total government takeover of the health insurance industry, a lurch towards eliminating all forms of private insurance. And so it was; look where we are now. To mainstream liberals, though, O-Care was sold as a de facto rejection of single-payer: Not only would the new exchanges showcase plans offered by private insurers, there wouldn’t even be a “public option” plan run by the government to compete with them. No wonder they assume that the new Democratic proposal, Medicare For All, will also contain some sort of private insurance option.

That is, when they hear “Medicare For All” I think they’re thinking of the public option. You get to drop your private insurance and switch to Medicare if you wish, and if you don’t, no problem. If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, as a famous man once said. It was a lie then and it’s a *big* lie under MFA.

Democratic voters may also be confused by the sheer cacophony of voices chattering at them about health care. On the right, the message is clear — the left wants socialism. On the left, with 20+ candidates running for president, they have a spectrum of health-care proposals to sift through. Bernie wants Medicare For All; Warren has been cagier, endorsing the goal but less certain about the means; Buttigieg doesn’t see why Medicare For All requires an end to private insurance; Biden merely wants a public option added to ObamaCare. If you’re a casual voter who broadly supports the goal of universal health care, good luck parsing all of that hair-splitting to arrive at the “true meaning” of Medicare For All. Many of them probably default to the seductive but erroneous assumption that the entire party wants to stick with ObamaCare as the baseline — they all fought so hard together for it in 2010, after all! — and add some tweaks as needed. That’s absolutely not the case as you drift further left from Biden towards Bernie ideologically, of course, but as I say, many of these people are casual voters who don’t pay close attention to ideological squabbles. And health care is complicated!

By the way, I’m probably wrong to say that the health-care message on the right is “clear.” It was clear: The left wants socialism, and don’t bother to ask us about our alternative. Thanks to Trump, it’s no longer so clear.

Senate Republicans, defending 22 seats next year, thought they had put ObamaCare repeal behind them when they told Trump earlier this year that they have no intention of acting on a health care overhaul before the election.

But Trump threw the issue back at them in an interview with ABC News that aired Sunday, saying his administration will unveil “something terrific” to overhaul the nation’s health care system “in a month.” He argued that action is needed because “ObamaCare has been a disaster.”…

“All the members of Congress thought it had subsided and hope that it continues to be subsided,” one senior GOP aide said.

“We don’t actually agree with each other on what replacement should be, which means we don’t have a replacement that Republicans can unite around,” added the aide, who called Trump’s remarks a “political gift for Democrats.”

I don’t know why Trump wants to float a plan of his own right now knowing that (a) Pelosi can and will block anything he offers and (b) as the data above demonstrates, the public is ripe for a backlash to utopian left-wing Medicare For All. If the election becomes a referendum on a total government takeover of health care, that’s a good fight for Trump. If instead it’s a choice between Medicare For All and some Republican plan that’s cobbled together under pressure and likely to provide less robust protections for preexisting conditions than O-Care does, that’s not a good fight. Remember, health care was a core message for Dems last fall in House races and they gained 40 seats because of it. To this day, Pelosi is avoiding impeachment because it will distract from Democrats talking about health care, knowing that her party is usually favored by voters on that issue. I don’t know why Trump wants to help them by steering the national conversation in that direction. Neither do Senate Republicans.