‘Losing’ Versus Replacing Your Insurance

One of the bad rhetorical moves by supporters of Medicare for All is refuting the notion of ‘losing your insurance.’ Here’s why (boldface mine):

This strategy also underpins one popular political argument against Medicare for All and, often, in favor of a public option instead– the idea that voters who currently like their employer-sponsored insurance will be too afraid of losing that insurance to support Medicare for All. The anti-Medicare for All crowd loves to point to polling showing that people don’t support Medicare for All so much if it means they have to give up their private plan, but they don’t understand why that is. They don’t understand what, exactly, people fear so much about losing their insurance, which is losing access to care. This is why poll respondents do support Medicare for All if they’re told it would mean they could keep their doctor, which it would.

(They also don’t understand, or don’t admit, that the respondents in these polls are not healthcare wonks who are intimately familiar with what Medicare for All is, and are used to a system in which losing your insurance is literally life-threatening. If you ask a person who has only ever lived under a system where insurance determines your ability to access healthcare “Would you support this plan that would mean you’d lose your insurance,” yeah, they might say no– maybe because they simply can’t imagine a system where losing your insurance is no longer a possibility. Combatting this lack of information– and often outright misinformation– is the only way to win an equitable healthcare system.)

It’s time to respond, “No one is going to lose their insurance. Everyone would gain an insurance plan they can’t lose, even if they lose their job and are unable to work.” I’m guessing that would poll rather well.

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