About 70% of U.S. residents—and 53% of Republicans—say they favor the Medicare program "as it is today," according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
The Kaiser Health Tracking Poll—which surveyed 1,519 U.S. residents between Feb. 13 and Feb. 19—found that 25% of respondents and 39% of Republicans said they would favor a Medicare premium-support model like those proposed by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and by several GOP presidential candidates, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
In addition, the survey found that:
- 62% of respondents said a presidential candidate's position on Medicare is only "one of many factors" to affect their vote, while 23% said they would vote only for a candidate who shares their views on the issue;
- 63% of respondents over age 65 support raising the Medicare eligibility age gradually from 65 to 67, compared with just 43% of those under age 50;
- 54% of respondents support limiting premium increases for high-income seniors, compared with 46% of Republicans; and
- 43% of elderly residents trust Democrats more to handle Medicare, while 36% have more faith in Republicans.
Survey finds public split on health reform
The Kaiser Family Foundation survey also found that public support for the federal health reform law is split nearly evenly, with 42% of U.S. residents holding a favorable view of the overhaul and 43% viewing it unfavorably.
Overall, 58% of respondents said they trust President Obama to make the best decisions about the future of the reform law, while only 33% to 43% said they trust his GOP challengers to do the same (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 3/1 [subscription required]; Werber Serafini, Kaiser Health News, 3/1; Sanger-Katz, National Journal, 3/1 [subscription required]).