Poll: Public strongly supports Medicare, opposes cuts

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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Medicare spending should not be cut to reduce the national deficit, according to the majority of respondents ina recent national poll from the Harvard School of Public Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

About two-thirds of poll respondents said they favor quick governmental action to reduce the deficit. However, more than 70% said this could be achieved without drastic Medicare cuts. Eighty-five percent said they oppose across-the-board Medicare premium increases. The same percentage said they would support legislation to push drug companies to lower the costs of medications for seniors, which would also save the Medicare program money.

The Medicare program is working well, according to 60% of total respondents and 80% of seniors.

Just over half of respondents registered opposition to raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) proposed as part of a Medicare/Medicaid reform plan issued Jan. 25, the same day the poll was released. Critics argue premiums will rise if less costly younger beneficiaries are cut from the program. Some long-term care operators say cost cutting should focus on better integration of care.

Fewer respondents – 46% – indicated opposition to any Medicaid cuts. Asked if their state should expand Medicaid under an optional provision of the Affordable Care Act, 52% said yes and 42% said no.

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