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Survey shows 40% Americans prefer student debt forgiveness to universal healthcare

In a competition between two of the major flashpoints of the 2020 election—mounting student debt and spiraling medical costs—a surprising number Americans prefer a solution to the former.

The financial consulting website LendEDU conducted a survey of 1,000 adult American voters, asking them “if they would prefer complete student loan forgiveness or free health care for all,” as well as “if they would rather their hypothetical future children or current children have access to free four-year college or free health care.”

Forty percent of respondents—two out of every five American adults—said that they would prefer “outstanding student loan debt be completely forgiven.” Sixty percent, meanwhile, responded that the government should institute “free health care for all.”

LendEDU estimates that the responses in favor of health care were due to the much higher costs associated with that phenomenon over the average lifespan:

While the complete cancellation of this nation’s $1.61 trillion in outstanding student loan debt would presumably cost somewhere around that figure, the estimated price of free universal health care would likely fall somewhere between $25 trillion and $36 trillion over 10 years according to various plans from think-tanks and economists.

Perhaps, like most things, the answer lies in the pockets of Americans. While recent student loan borrowers owe $28,565 in student loan debt, the costs of health care over a lifetime will usually far exceed that.

For example, the average cost of health insurance was $18,764 for the average family in 2017, with $5,714 of that being out-of-pocket expenses.

Notably, when respondents were asked if they would prefer “free four-year college” or universal health care for their future children, responses were slightly more favorable to the former than in the first question: 42 percent of respondents would prefer it to universal healthcare.

LendEDU said the survey was conducted with American adults who had “some amount of student loan debt.”

Read the report here. 

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