Key point: “Changes to Medicare and Medicaid remain wildly unpopular and more than two-thirds of registered voters want to repeal Bush-era tax cuts for households that make more than $250,000 a year, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.”
Voters Dislike GOP Plan to Change Medicare, Medicaid
By Patrick O’Connor
Republicans have some selling to do.
Changes to Medicare and Medicaid remain wildly unpopular and more than two-thirds of registered voters want to repeal Bush-era tax cuts for households that make more than $250,000 a year, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
More than twice as many voters oppose efforts to change Medicare than those who favor limiting benefits under the popular health-care program for seniors. And a distinct majority opposes new limits on Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor.
What’s worse for the GOP, the numbers don’t change much when voters were told how much federal spending Medicare and Medicaid consume.
Quinnipiac told half of the 1,408 registered voters the university polled that Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and defense spending consume 60% of the budget. The other half weren’t. Among those who were told, 70% opposed efforts to change Medicare, compared with the 75% who weren’t told. For Medicaid, 57% of the first group opposed limits, compared with the 59% of the control group that also opposed changes. The only significant change came on the question of defense spending, with support for cuts increasing by 7% when voters were told how much the government spends on the military.
“So much for the idea that if the public only understood the budget numbers they would be much more amenable to reductions,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of polling at the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Except for defense spending.”
The House Republicans’ budget would turn Medicaid into a system of block grants to the states and transform Medicare from a fee-for-service program to a menu of subsidized private insurance plans for people under the age of 55. Many GOP lawmakers got an earful from their constituents about the budget blueprint during a recently concluded two-week recess.
In addition, 69% of the voters polled favor repealing Bush-era tax breaks on households than earn more than $250,000. Republicans would keep the current rates indefinitely, while President Barack Obama has promised to raise them for people whose income exceeds $250,000.