The popularity of a single payer healthcare system run by the government is growing among Americans, according to a new poll.
The Pew Research Center survey from June 8 through June 18 found the percentages of those who thought government had a responsibility to provide healthcare also increased.
Sixty percent of respondents said providing healthcare for all was the government's responsibility, which is among the highest levels in a decade. Meanwhile, 39 percent said the government did not have such an obligation.
The poll found that 33 percent of respondents backed a single insurance system run by the government, rather than a mix of private companies and government-run programs. This is a 5 percentage point increase since January and a 12 percentage point rise since 2014.
There were sharp divides in attitudes on healthcare along party lines, as well as by age. Eighty-five percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents said healthcare was the government's responsibility, while 68 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said it was not.
Two thirds of young adults said the government has a responsibility to provide healthcare for all, with 45 percent saying it should be offered through a single government-run insurance system. Adults older than 65 were less in favor, as 54 percent said healthcare for all should be a government responsibility and 30 percent supported a single insurer model.
A majority of Democrats, 52 percent, back the single payer approach and this rises to 66 percent among Democrats younger than 30.
On the Republican side, an age divide is also apparent. Thirty-nine percent of Republicans aged 30 or younger say the government is responsible for securing healthcare for all, compared to 28 percent of those older than 30.
Even among Republicans, support is strong for the maintenance of Medicare to support the poor and others. Five percent of respondents overall and 9 percent of Republicans said government should withdraw completely from the healthcare sector.
One of the most prominent advocates for a single payer healthcare model has been Bernie Sanders, the Independent Vermont senator who challenged Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primaries. On March 26, Sanders announced his intention to introduce a single-payer healthcare bill into the Senate.
"I'm going to introduce a Medicare-for-all single-payer program," Sanders said, according to Politico.
Sanders suggested such a plan could win Republican support because it would help meet President Donald Trump's pledge to reduce the cost of prescription medication.
"President Trump, come on board," Sanders added. "Let's work together. Let's end the absurdity of Americans paying by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs."