Medicare for All is a double-edged sword for Democrats

The big picture: The idea has strong appeal for many Democrats, as does the more limited approach of letting 50-64 year olds buy into Medicare. But both ideas also require spending political capital that could be devoted to other health issues. They also run the risk of dividing moderate and progressive Democrats, and could give Republicans the chance to get off the ropes on health care in 2020.

Between the lines: Medicare for All is popular, with 59% of the public supporting the idea, according to our polling at the Kaiser Family Foundation. The words matter, and “Medicare for All” generates more positive responses (62%) than “national health plan” (57%) or “single payer” (48%).

Support falls and opposition grows when the public is presented with the tradeoffs that come with any single payer plan, such as higher taxes or increased government control.