So Much for the Old Aversion to ‘Socialized Medicine’

The phrase “socialized medicine” has been lethal to past attempts at creating a national healthcare system in the U.S. A survey by Harris Interactive and the Harvard School of Public Health suggests the label has lost its stigma, though.

Asked whether “socialized medicine” would be better or worse than the setup we have now, 45 percent of adults said “better” and 39 percent said “worse,” with 4 percent saying it would be “about the same” and the rest declining to answer. (The polling sample for this question excluded the 15 percent of people who’d already said they didn’t understand the phrase “socialized medicine” at all.) People who have health insurance were slightly more likely to answer “better” than “worse” (44 percent vs. 41 percent). Among those without coverage, “better” trounced “worse” (57 percent vs. 19 percent).

Young adults weren’t very put off by the phrase “socialized medicine,” with 55 percent of those under 35 saying such a system would be better than the current setup and 30 percent saying it would be worse. Respondents age 65-plus were more wary, with 30 percent saying it would be better and 57 percent saying it would be worse. Of course, they’re the beneficiaries of Medicare, which is about as close to socialized medicine as we’ve got at this point.