Undecided Iowa voters watching this round of Democratic debates aren’t that interested in the finer points of the private option vs. Medicare for All discussion. They want health care for all, they say, but they’re largely unsure how it should be achieved.
Voters at Des Moines debate watch parties both Tuesday and Wednesday night weren’t strongly attached to any specific approach the candidates brought up, and some were simply confused as to the differences between the plans.
“I don’t understand all the issues with Medicare for All that well,” said Bob Raker of Des Moines. “But they might be wrestling with semantics here on what the definitions of these things are.”
Ryan Crane said he doesn’t know whether a private option should be left in a Medicare for All bill.
“I have mixed feelings about Medicare for All,” Crane said Wednesday. “I think it’s good to have a public option that’s available to people, but the moderators are framing this wrong … The way the moderators framed it is antagonistic. Kamala attacked Biden. Biden attacked Gillibrand. I don’t think it’s constructive.”
Anthony Spoerl, also of Des Moines, said he believes there should be a private option, but added, “I don’t know.”
“I’m not sure where I land on it,” Spoerl said, unsure of his answer. “I lean towards having it mixed with a private option I suppose?”
Spoerl said the first 30-minutes of Tuesday night’s debate didn’t help him understand the issue any better.
“Right now, I haven’t used Medicare for myself enough to make a decision on how I feel about it,” said Beverly Ellis of Des Moines. “I need to read about it. I’m retired and I’m on Medicare, so it doesn’t affect me that much.”
When asked whether she supported a private option, Hillary Naven, of Des Moines said, “I’m not really sure.”
Randy Henderson, of Des Moines, said he’s on Medicare and he thinks it’s great and he’d like to make sure everyone is insured.
“That’s the bottom line,” he said.
He didn’t have an opinion as to whether a private option should be offered other than he’s been “screwed big before” by private insurance companies.
After watching the Medicare for All debates, Heather Dunn simply doesn’t think American is ready for Medicare for All.
“I think that I’m more on the board with staying on Obamacare,” Dunn said.
The only person at the Des Moines debate watch party either night who seemed to be confident of their opinion on Medicare for All said she thought the candidates were confusing voters more than they were helping them.
“I’m a public benefits attorney,” Romain said. “What I don’t like is I think Bernie is being disingenuous about the status of Medicare is. Because people on Medicare do pay copays, they do have deductibles and most of them do have a form of private insurance called Medigap coverage or Medicare supplement.”
“I don’t like that it’s confusing people,” Romain said. “I don’t like it when Republicans do it. I don’t like it when Democrats do it. I guess personally, I’m not saying I’m against government sponsored healthcare but in the short term, I would be in favor of some of the options being discussed where you would add a public option to the existing Obamacare structure and still keep talking about this.”
by Paige Godden
Photo by Julie Fleming