Medicare for All rally sign AmongMedicare beneficiaries, 58 percent now say Medicare should remainprimarily for people age 65 and older, up from 42 percent in eachof the prior two years. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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A majority of Medicare enrollees now say that the federal healthinsurance program should remain primarily for people age 65 andolder, according to eHealth's report, "Medicare Beneficiaries on 'Medicare forAll.'"

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eHealth surveyed more than 1,000 individuals who purchasedMedicare insurance plans through its online platform, and foundthat support among beneficiaries is down for Medicare for All. Justover a third (37 percent) of the respondents say that all Americansshould have access to Medicare or Medicare-like coverage, comparedto 41 percent in 2019 and 31 percent in 2018.

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Related: Latest study pegs Medicare for All savings at $450billion annually

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In fact, the opposition is growing: 58 percent of Medicarebeneficiaries now say Medicare should remain primarily for peopleage 65 and older, up from 42 percent in each of the prior twoyears.

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Perhaps not surprisingly, support for "Medicare for all" isvaried among beneficiaries of different income levels. The proposalis most appealing to highest-income earners: 47 percent of thosewith annual incomes of $100,000 or more support Medicare for All,followed by 42 percent for those with incomes less than $25,000 peryear. For middle-class beneficiaries with incomes between $75,000and $100,000, just 33 percent support expanding the federal program(the survey results do not detail the support level among peoplewith incomes between $25,000 and $75,000).

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"We have been tracking consumer sentiment on Medicare forAll proposals for some time now but the results of ourmost recent survey surprised us," says eHealth CEO Scott Flanders."As we get deeper into election season and Medicare beneficiarieslisten to candidates and weigh the pros and cons of variousproposals, it seems that support for a radical revamp of theMedicare program, and for Medicare for All candidates, isdropping."

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Support for Medicare for All candidates is decreasing amongMedicare beneficiaries: 32 percent of respondents now say theywould support a Medicare for All presidential candidate (at thispoint, just Sen. Bernie Sanders), down from 35 percent in 2019.Opposition is rising: 43 percent now say they would not a support aMedicare for All candidate, compared to 36 percent in last year'ssurvey, while 25 percent told pollsters that they are stillundecided on whether they would support a Medicare for Allcandidate, compared to 29 percent in 2019.

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Broken down by gender, 48 percent of men and 38 percent of womennow say they would not support a Medicare for All candidate forpresident, up from 44 percent of men and 31 percent of women in2019.

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Of all of the respondents, 52 percent say they consider it veryor somewhat unlikely that a Medicare for All program would beimplemented even if a Medicare for All candidate would be electedpresident. Just 26 percent of respondents consider it very orsomewhat likely the program would be successfully implemented,compared to 31 percent in 2019.

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However, when broken down by age, the youngest Medicarebeneficiaries are more likely than older ones to consider Medicarefor All possible: 38 percent of respondents younger than age 65consider it very or somewhat likely that a Medicare for All programwould be successfully implemented if a candidate supporting it wereelected, compared to 19 percent of those age 80 and older (thesurvey results do not detail the sentiment of respondents betweenthe ages of 65 and 79).

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.