A majority of adults in a new survey said that they believe it is the job of the federal government to ensure health-care coverage for all Americans, but most also prefer a private health-care system over a government-run option.
The 57 percent of respondents supporting the idea that ensuring health-care coverage is the job of the federal government is the highest mark in Gallup’s polling since 2018. An overwhelming majority of Democrats share this view in the new survey, with 59 percent of independents concurring. Just 28 percent of Republicans support the idea.
While the poll showed that a majority of people said the federal government should ensure health coverage, it also found that a majority of respondents favored a private health-care system over a government-run one. This is driven by a government-run system garnering just 13 percent of support from Republicans and 46 percent of support from independents.
More than seven in 10 of Democrats — 72 percent — support the idea of a government-run health-care system.
The survey results show the complex position most people in the U.S. hold on the country’s health-care system. Balancing the responsibilities of the government in health-care coverage while also maintaining a private coverage system has been a juggling act faced by lawmakers and successive presidential administrations for decades.
Democrats have floated a number of different policy ideas to find a way to ensure greater health coverage through the power of the federal government. The Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act expanded health coverage, but relied primarily on a private health-care system. Progressive lawmakers, like Sen. Bernie Sander (I-Vt.), have pushed the ball further, advocating for a government-run, universal health-care system that ensures coverage for every person. The Medicare-for-all platform became popular with progressive and younger voters, but has yet to become the policy preference of party leaders.
For their part, Republicans have prioritized allowing the private sector to dominate the health-care field, working and campaigning for years to strike down or repeal key parts of the Affordable Care Act.
The Gallup survey of 1,020 adults in November through December had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.