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Public Doesn’t Want to Change Medicare

New polling shows the public is still opposed to changing Medicare.

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Last week, I reviewed polling data from 2011 showing how opposed the public was then to the conservative idea of cutting funding for the Medicare program and turning it into a fixed-amount voucher system that seniors would have to use to purchase private health insurance. I suggested the public was unlikely to be much friendlier to the idea this year.

Last week we also received new polling on the issue and, as expected, the public continues to support keeping Medicare as it is today. By 51 percent to 33 percent in a new Pew poll, the public thinks this goal is more important than taking steps to reduce the budget deficit.

Moving on to the specific plan to turn Medicare into a voucher, the plan was tested by the recently released Washington Post/Kaiser poll. Respondents were given two choices: A) Medicare should continue as it is today, with the government guaranteeing all seniors the same set of health insurance benefits, or B) Medicare should be changed to a system in which the government guarantees each senior a fixed amount of money to help them purchase coverage either from traditional Medicare or from a list of private health plans. The public favored choice A, keeping Medicare the way it is today, by a strong 58-36 margin.

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