Public Opinion Polls Uncover Differing Views On Plans For Medicare's Future

NPR reports that the answer to how the public is reacting to plans to transform the Medicare program depends on precisely how the question is posed. Meanwhile, different polls are finding varying impressions among Americans. A Gallup poll released Wednesday found the public evenly divided over how to handle the budget, but a Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll found that seniors seem to prefer Medicare as it is.


NPR: Where Is The Public On Medicare? Depends How You Ask The Question
Depending on which side of the debate you're on, you can point to a poll right now that shows support for making major changes to the Medicare program, and one that shows major opposition. How come? Mostly because the questions used different wording (Rovner, 4/27).

Los Angeles Times: Gallup Poll: Americans Evenly Split On Obama, Ryan Budget Plans
Yet the latest poll shows that the general public appears about evenly divided over how to handle the issue of deficits and budgets though the political parties' approaches are sharply at odds. President Obama has called for a combination of cuts and tax increases on the rich to bring down deficits over the long-term while keeping intact key entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. [Republican Rep. Paul] Ryan … has proposed reshaping Medicare as a voucher-like program and Medicaid as a block grant program (Muskal, 4/27).

Kaiser Health News: Few Seniors Support GOP Plan To Restructure Medicare
Senior citizens, whose fierce opposition to the 2010 health overhaul law helped propel Republicans' midterm election gains, have little appetite for the House GOP's plans to turn Medicare into a voucher-type program that sends beneficiaries to private plans but limits the amount of federal funding, according to a poll released today" (Galewitz, 4/27).

CQ HealthBeat: Seniors Prefer Medicare As-Is While Younger Americans More Open to Change 
Seniors are largely opposed to the idea of changing Medicare to a defined contribution program, while younger people are evenly divided about plans to convert the health program to one in which federal officials give people a capped amount of money to buy private insurance. A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 62 percent of seniors said that they prefer to keep the program as it is. Younger people are more open to the notion of a defined contribution system, with 48 percent of those ages 18 to 39 willing to accept the change and 48 percent opposed (Adams, 4/27).

Kaiser Health News: (Video) Health On The Hill – GOP Medicare Plan Spurs Anger, Splits Public During Recess
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey talks with Jackie Judd about varied reaction by Americans and lawmakers to the GOP plan to reduce the deficit by making changes to Medicare as well as new efforts to get the deficit under control. A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows most seniors oppose some GOP-proposed changes at a greater rate than the general public, which views it more favorably (4/27). Read the transcript.

NPR: GOP Budget Architect Heads Home To Mixed Reviews 
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is back home in Wisconsin this week, and facing some tough crowds who don't like his budget plan. The plan, passed by the House earlier this month, calls for major changes in Medicare and Medicaid, and cutting tax rates for the wealthy. In normal times, Ryan's listening sessions draw just a handful of people – but that was before he became a GOP rock star. His district meetings now draw overflow crowds (Quirmbach, 4/27).

From Kaiser Health News

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

This article was reprinted from Kaiser Health News with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.