The public offers a mixed reaction to a proposal to change Medicare into a program that would give future participants a credit toward purchasing private health insurance coverage: 41% oppose such a change, 36% favor it, and nearly a quarter (23%) have no opinion either way. Despite this even division of opinion overall, there is broad, and strong, opposition to the proposal among older Americans, and those who are paying a lot of attention to the issue.
Those ages 50 and older oppose this proposal, which is part of Rep. Paul Ryan’s deficit reduction plan, by a 51% to 29% margin. And this opposition is intense: 42% strongly oppose this kind of change, while only 19% strongly favor it. The same is true among people who say they have heard a lot about this proposal – fully 56% are opposed while 33% are in favor, and strong opposition among this group outweighs strong support by two-to-one (50% vs. 25%).
The latest national poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted May 25-30 among 1,509 adults, finds only modest partisan differences in views of the Medicare proposal. Democrats are slightly more likely to oppose this kind of change than are Republicans (46% vs. 39%), while an identical 35% in both parties are in favor. The ambivalence toward this proposal among Republicans holds across ideological lines. Even among conservative Republicans as many oppose (38%) as favor (34%) this proposal. And among people who say they agree with the Tea Party just 44% support this change, while 36% are opposed.
Read the full report, Opposition to Ryan Medicare Plan from Older, Attentive Americans, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.