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Leave Medicare Out of It

Conservatives have successfully held the country’s economy hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. But they’ve been less succesful in cutting Medicare. There’s a simple reason for this: Cutting Medicare to reduce the deficit is very, very unpopular.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents in the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll say there should be no reductions in Medicare to reduce the deficit, compared to 30 percent who support minor reductions and just 10 percent who support major reductions.

Even more definitively, the public thinks reductions in Medicare spending should not even be part of the discussion about reducing the long-term budget deficit by an overwhelming 67-28 margin.

That’s pretty clear. The public is saying, “Whatever else you do, don’t cut Medicare.” So progressives should continue to defend Medicare vigorously with the confidence that they have the public’s strong support.

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.