Older Americans Highly Resistant to Medicare Changes; 51% Oppose Plan

Aug 14, 2012

 Older Americans are wary of changes to Medicare. Compared with younger people, they are more positive about the way the program operates, less apt to think that changes are needed and far less disposed towards Paul Ryan’s proposal to reshape Medicare.

A Pew Research survey in May of 2011 found that those 65 and older had a negative reaction to Ryan’s plan to change Medicare: 51% opposed the plan (including 43% who opposed it strongly) compared with only 25% who favored the plan. People under the age of 50 offered far more support than those over 50 for Ryan’s Medicare plan.

A June 2011 survey found that most seniors said they were happy with how Medicare and Social Security operated. About six-in-ten (61%) said Medicare does an excellent or good job serving the people it covers; 57% said the same about Social Security. By contrast, most of those under 65 said these programs do an only fair or poor job.

In addition, just 33% of those 65 and older said they think Medicare needs major changes or needs to be completely rebuilt. Similarly, few seniors (30%) supported major changes or a complete rebuilding of Social Security. Support for changing Social Security and Medicare was far higher among those under 65.

Read the full report, Older Americans Have Been Highly Resistant to Medicare Changes, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press website.

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