Just Say No to Voucherizing Medicare

The idea of transforming Medicare into a voucher program started out unpopular, and is just becoming less so.

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On the issue of voucherizing Medicare, two things are very clear. First, conservatives are dead-set on trying to transform Medicare into a voucher program. Second, the public is dead-set against that idea.

In the latest Kaiser Health Tracking poll, the public—by a 59 percent–37 percent margin—favored continuing Medicare as it is today, with the government guaranteeing the same set of health benefits, over giving seniors a fixed amount of money to purchase either a private health plan or traditional Medicare.

Figure 1

Even more overwhelmingly, in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, 78 percent of respondents favored continuing Medicare as it is today. Just 14 percent supported changing Medicare to a system where the government gives seniors a fixed amount on money to purchase health insurance.

Americans strongly oppose voucherizing Medicare

It seems highly improbable at this point that the public is going to change its mind about voucherizing Medicare. The idea started out unpopular and is only continuing to lose support. Smart conservatives should start looking around for another big idea because this one is going nowhere.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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