Poll: GOP-backed Medicare proposals remain unpopular
August 21st, 2012
04:05 PM ET
2 years ago

Poll: GOP-backed Medicare proposals remain unpopular

(CNN) - With Medicare taking front and center in the presidential race in recent days, a new Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday indicates that GOP proposals to privatize the system remain unpopular among the general public.

According to the survey, 72% of American adults have heard either a lot or a little about a voucher-like program that would give seniors credit to purchase their own health care coverage–a proposal similar to that pushed by Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and now-running mate for Mitt Romney.

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Of those who have heard of the idea, 49% oppose such a change, while 34% favor the entitlement reform. Pew states that the margin is "virtually unchanged from public reactions a little over a year ago," when House Republicans voted on a similar measure as part of the so-called Ryan budget plan. The bill, however, did not pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The survey also finds that while Americans place the need to reduce the deficit as a top priority, most would not favor entitlement cuts as a way of balancing the budget. Asked which was more important, 51% of respondents said maintaining current Social Security and Medicare benefits, while 33% said taking steps to reduce the deficit. Eleven percent said the two were equally important.

The poll also indicates that Romney's selection of Ryan has low support among all Americans, as 28% said he was either an excellent or good choice, while 46% said he was a fair or poor choice. Among Republicans, 60% said he was either an excellent or good choice, while 20% said he was a fair or poor pick.

It's important to note that most Americans do not associate Ryan with Medicare reform, according to the survey. Of those who have heard of the proposal, 23% linked the idea to Ryan, while 17% said it was President Barack Obama's idea. Forty-four percent said they were unaware of who proposed it.

The poll was conducted about a week after Romney announced Ryan as his running mate, a move that injected Medicare as a hot button issue in this year's presidential race. The two campaigns have been engaged in a war of words over Medicare for much of the last 10 days.

Team Romney claims Obama 's health care reform includes more than $700 billion cuts to Medicare, while the Obama campaign contends the Romney argument is misleading and says the figure amounts to savings in health care costs-not cuts. The figure was reported in a Congressional Budget Office analysis that measured the effects of a repeal of the controversial health care legislation.

While the Pew poll shows Ryan with low approval ratings, Vice President Joe Biden is even more unpopular. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said he has done either an excellent or good job as the president's number two, while 56% said he does only a poor or fair job. Among Democrats specifically, 51% said he has done an excellent or good job, while 36% said he has performed poorly or fairly.

The survey was conducted just days after Biden drew fierce criticism over a comment he made about Romney during a campaign speech last week, telling a Virginia crowd that the presumptive GOP nominee's regulatory policies would "put y'all back in chains."

The Pew Research Center questioned 1,005 adults nationwide by telephone between August 16 and August 19. The sampling error is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Medicare • Paul Ryan • Polls
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. BLKMANinAmerica

    And the GOPers say what.........................."let the low lifes eat kake".............DISGUSTING.

    August 21, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. Hahahahahahahahahahaha

    @Four and the Door – The voucher system is the same as paying for insurance by using the voucher. Insurance today has caused providers to not have to compete on price nor quality. And since providers WILL NOT and DO NOT compete today, we the people should have a mechanism to be able to negotiate better prices. That mechanism is a single payer system such as Medicare. The Medical Cartels already know this and that's why they spend billions to buy republicans.
    Insurance is a complete waste of money. It wastes from 10-25% of your health care dollars for no value added for your health care. Why would we want to change Medicare to be MORE wastefull by adding MORE middlemen????

    BTW – When your voucher is adjusted at the phoney inflation rate (3%?) and medical inflation is 15-20%, how long will it be before you cannot afford healthcare? Not very long. Hahahahahaahhaah

    August 21, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. tony

    My goodness!!! Most voters are not as stupid as the Tea Party Republicans think they are . . . .

    August 21, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  4. Daniel

    As a retired 65 year old, I have some concerns about the Medicare plans of each candidate. I would like the hardworking CNN staff to put a graph of each plan, walk trough a person less than 65 and 65 and above. Show the difference and cost to each. This would help your listeners understand thus removing talking points on the Stump.

    August 21, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Ancient Texan

    If medicare is not reformed, it will come to an abrupt halt in a few short years. Doing nothing is not an option if the younger generation is to be covered by this plan.

    August 21, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha
    @Four and the Door – The voucher system is the same as paying for insurance by using the voucher. Insurance today has caused providers to not have to compete on price nor quality. And since providers WILL NOT and DO NOT compete today,..
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    But they do. I chose a provider for my employees because the cost was lower and the quality was better than what we had previously. I like it better because our insurance costs are lower and my employees are pleased with the quality of what they are getting.

    August 21, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. jr

    I feel like ranting so here. Economics 101 for the unenlightened is a study of human behaviour. Nothing else. People will always act in their own interest. Period. Government programs should not be judged not on what they spend but on what they accomplish. If a stated goal is not firmly established and a goal to be met than a gov't program shouldn't be continued. There are only finite resources. You can't kill the golden goose just because it knows how to make gold. Now how do we get the goose to share. YOU CAN'T. No more than you can get government to slow its malignant growth. But what you can have is a limited taxation model that will allow good and services to be efficiently flow to the market place. The stewards of this revenue must only spend it where it is needed in the most cost efficient manner within reason. The American citizens must take responsibility for their own lives. The government must trust us to do so. Everbody goes top shelf at an open bar. A bartender can have must shorter arms at a cash bar. But guess what in both cases everybody gets drunk. The delivery of healthcare is a marketplace. Because every piece of it has the self interest mechanism working. Americans must take responsibility its our own money.

    August 21, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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