Eighty-three percent of Americans believe Medicare must be reformed in order to keep the program affordable and sustainable and 51 percent say a “great deal of change” is required, a new Harris Poll finds. A majority are reluctant to fund the necessary changes out-of-pocket, but do support changing the way providers are reimbursed for care — provisions that are included in the Affordable Care Act.
Interestingly, 48 percent of respondents — including 46 percent of Republicans — said they “support the Medicare program we have now, where people can choose the government run program or a plan from a private health insurance company.” Just 13 percent — and 26 percent of Republicans — would favor “a Medicare program solely run by private insurance companies.” The other results:
– 53 percent were opposed to raising taxes
– 60 percent opposed “increasing co-pays and deductibles so that out-of-pocket costs will increase”
– 72 percent support cutting the price Medicare pays for prescription drugs
– 57 percent are in favor of having people with higher incomes pay more for their Medicare benefits than people with lower incomes
– 54 percent support the proposal that doctors and hospitals be paid “based on quality and results, rather than the volume of care provided”
Currently, over 15 percent of the federal budget goes toward funding Medicare, and that number is expected to increase to roughly 18 percent by 2020.