Public Is Strongly Against Cutting Medicare

The conservative assault on government marches on. Their latest trick is passage of the House Republican budget bill. This bill takes direct aim at Medicare by proposing to cut funding for the program and turn it into a fixed amount voucher that seniors would have to use to purchase private health insurance. To say this approach is unpopular is to considerably understate the case.

First, take cutting Medicare. In a just-released Washington Post/ABC poll 78 percent opposed cutting spending on Medicare "to reduce the national deb," including 65 percent who were strongly opposed. This compares to just 21 percent who favored cutting the program.

As for turning Medicare into a fixed amount voucher to be used to purchase private health insurance, 65 percent in the same poll prefer that the system remain the way it is. And that number rises to 84 percent when a follow-up query is posed stipulating that the value of the voucher would rise more slowly than the price of private health insurance (as the Congressional Budget Office projects will be the case).

This can fairly be characterized as massive opposition. Conservatives, who appear to lack any policy common sense, might want to exert some political common sense and retreat from their assault on Medicare.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis, go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.