While most Americans say that Washington should act quickly to bring down the deficit, there is little public support for major reductions in federal spending on healthcare, according to the results of a national poll from the Harvard School of Public Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Overall, six in ten (58 percent) oppose any spending cuts to Medicare and 46 percent oppose any cuts to Medicaid. When it comes to which federal activities should be subject to “major” cuts, there is only majority agreement on reducing foreign aid and funding for the conflict in Afghanistan.
Only two of six specific proposals asked about in the poll to trim Medicare draw majority support from the public. They would require drug companies to give the federal government a better deal on medications for low-income people on Medicare, and require high income seniors to pay higher Medicare premiums—backed by 85 percent and 59 percent of the public, respectively. In contrast, 51 percent oppose gradually raising the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 67. And 61 percent “strongly oppose” requiring all seniors to pay higher Medicare premiums.