Although vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has put Medicare back in the news by touting his drastic plan to phase out the traditional program, Americans’ opposition to the Republican ticket’s plan for Medicare is consistent across party lines. Two new polls from the Kaiser Family Foundation find that neither Democrats nor Republicans favor overhauling the government program, and a majority of Americans report they would trust Obama over Romney to make the right decisions about health care going forward.
A Kaiser poll released yesterday finds that the future of Medicare is at the forefront of voters’ minds. Among all the health issues that may come into play in the presidential election, voters rank Medicare as their top priority, closely followed by the high cost of health care. A full 73 percent of respondents consider the Medicare program extremely or very important:
Furthermore, respondents are uneasy about what a Romney-Ryan ticket could have in store for health care as a whole, including programs like Medicare. Seventy two percent of respondents would put their trust in President Obama when it comes to making decisions about health care reform, while just 40 percent would trust Romney on the same issue.
In the other Kaiser poll — which was conducted jointly with the Washington Post in late July and early August, before Mitt Romney announced his running mate — respondents were asked whether they preferred continuing the Medicare program as it is currently set up or switching to a plan like the one Ryan proposes, which would give seniors government grants to buy health insurance. Fifty eight percent of the total individuals surveyed favored the current system over Ryan’s plan, including a majority of the respondents in the Republican, Democrat, and independent groups. In fact, slightly more Republicans than independents reported they would rather not make changes to Medicare, 55 percent to 53 percent respectively.