CAP en Español
Small CAP Banner

Public Opinion Snapshot: Public Says Keep Medicare the Way It Is!

  • print icon
  • SHARE:
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Share on Google+
  • Email icon

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. Let’s start with their general support for keeping Medicare (or Social Security) benefits as they are: 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.
public prefers to keep Medicare the way it is over reducing the 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.

Public doesn't want to turn Medicare into a fixed-voucher program

Conservatives will, of course, keeping pushing the idea, despite its manifest unpopularity. But these data suggest that no matter how much they try to disguise the plan and make its changes sound benign, they are likely to meet a wall of public skepticism.

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.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Beatriz Lopez (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.741.6255 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Rafael Medina
202.478.5313 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or


This is part of a regular column: Public Opinion Snapshot

For more from the same column, click here