Northeastern University last month did a study on what it called "Generation Z" -- what it defines as Americans aged 16 to 19 years old. (These generation labels are hardly universal, and this age group is considered to be part of "Millenials" by most, but you get the idea; it's the people who will be voting in their first presidential election in 2016.)
We've written before about how the youngest generations are much more entitlement-minded than their older counterparts. One particular survey showed 51 percent of adults aged 18-24 believe everyone in an athletic competition should get a trophy -- not just the winners. We dubbed them the "Participation Trophy Generation." (It hasn't stuck just yet, but we're holding out hope.)
Well, this new poll from Northeastern U bears out that point. It shows that, among this so-called "Generation Z," 64 percent believe that government should provide health care to its citizens ... free of charge. Just 20 percent disagree -- a three-to-one margin.
(This group also believes in free college by a 53-30 margin and that anyone should be allowed to become a U.S. citizen, 55-26.)
That's not quite an analog for single-payer -- "free" is likely more appealing than "government-run" -- but it's pretty close.
Will these voters believe in single-payer once they grow up, have families and start paying taxes? As the saying goes, “If a person is not a liberal when he is twenty, he has no heart; if he is not a conservative when he is forty, he has no head." Perhaps not.People's politics and priorities change as they age.
But it's also pretty clear that the youngest generation is more predisposed toward something like single-payer. That probably won't make it viable in the near term -- and much depends on how Obamacare (a middle-ground approach between single-payer and the old system) pans out. But it means the idea is unlikely to die completely any time soon.
From there, it's about whether any state can practically implement it. And the fact that a state like Vermont -- whose politics are ... well ... the most conducive to something like single-payer -- isn't a great omen.
For more, see Sarah Kliff's great recap of precisely what happened in Vermont.