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Medicare enrollments forms with Social Security card.
While Republicans keep trying to shove major cuts to Medicare benefits, including increasing the eligibility age, onto the fiscal cliff curb table, the American public keeps saying "don't do it." Here's the lateset poll from National Journal.
The health care program for the elderly is at the center of discussions, and prominent panels that have studied the deficit and issued recommendations have often targeted it. But a full 79 percent of those surveyed want the fiscal-cliff negotiators not to cut the program at all. Only 17 percent would be willing to see it cut some, and a minuscule 3 percent would be OK with it being cut a lot.
The public wasn't riven over Medicare in the election, which the folks at Democracy Corps remind us from their election day polling.
We gave voters a choice between two statements—one acknowledging the federal deficit as a big problem, but arguing against major spending cuts in Social Security and Medicare and the other arguing that deficits are such a national crisis that broad spending cuts must include “possible future cuts” to Social Security and Medicare.  Even with this cautious statement, the “no cuts” position won by almost a two-to-one margin (60 percent to 33 percent) and with great intensity; almost half of all voters (47 percent) strongly believe that cuts to Social Security and Medicare should be off the table.
As the Democracy Corp memo says, this is critical stuff for the American public: "The polling shows the mandate is to protect Medicare and Social Security, not cut them. And Washington will face a TARP-like reaction if they read the election wrong." The election results give Democrats all the mandate they need to fight for keeping these programs safe. The next election should give them the impetus to do it.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 03:02 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's good when polling and facts agree -- raising (7+ / 0-)

    the Medicare eligibility age isn't going to solve either the deficit or strengthen Medicare. So the very issues that supposedly drive this discussion on eligibility age are actually completely divorced from reality.
    Of course, "divorced from reality" is an accurate descriptor of the Republican party.

    We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

    by Tamar on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 03:12:54 PM PST

  •  I think the GOP better get that "unskewed poll" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marvyt, Vatexia

    guy on this right away. I'm sure he'll explain things.

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

    by TofG on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 03:19:25 PM PST

  •  They will cut it anyway (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vatexia

    Politicians always say they don't pay attention to polls.  If you don't believe them, just stand back and watch them raise the retirement age and change the COLA index.

  •  This may a time when political self-preservation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vatexia

    trumps ideology.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 03:32:18 PM PST

  •  Medicare and Obamacare (3+ / 0-)

    To those around here who have been saying "It's OK to raise Medicare eligibility age because you can have Obamacare", I suggest you look at these polls.  If you want to destroy both programs force people who don't want it to take Obamacare instead of Medicare.  They won't blame Republicans.  They will blame Obamacare.

  •  I wonder if Steny Hoyer even cares (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, Vatexia, RandomNonviolence

    about stats like this. Probably not.

    Corporatist Democrats like Steny Hoyer, who want Medicare and Social Security benefits "on the table," have their own agenda.

    Hoyer & Co. need to know that we will not take this lying down.

  •  The insurance industry may save us (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vatexia

    Who knew the insurance industry would be on the same page with greenbell:

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/...

    "The reason: hiking the Medicare eligibility age would throw seniors aged 65 and 66 off Medicare and into the private market, forcing insurers, who will soon be required to cover all consumers regardless of health status, to care for a sicker, more expensive crop of patients.

    “The risk pool issue is important,” the insurance industry source said. “[I]f you add more older and sicker people to the pool, that’s definitely going to have any impact on premiums.”

    The policy would save the federal government $113 billion over a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But it achieves that by raising the cost of private insurance: the Kaiser Family Foundation projected that a Medicare age of 67 would raise costs for under-65 patients by an average of $141 in 2014. (In practice it would be phased in.)

    Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will forbid insurers from turning people away or charging them different prices on the basis of age or health status. So for the first time in about half a century, they’d be chiefly responsible for patients aged 65 and 66. The specter of rising costs worries insurers, who see the ongoing spiral as an existential threat to their industry.

    The age hike would have other ripple effects. Businesses that provide insurance would have to pay for two more years of coverage for elderly employees when their medical expenses tend to be highest. The higher overall costs would be borne by individuals who purchase insurance on the exchanges as well as employers who provide it."

  •  You know why people don't want cuts to SS and (14+ / 0-)

    Medicare?  Because they fucking paid in to those programs over a lifetime of work.  They had money taken out of their paychecks every week or two weeks for their whole fucking lives, and those are not "gifts" from the government--- they're benefits that they paid for with their sweat and their labor.  

    To cut SS and Medicare is to steal that money away from seniors-- THEIR money that came from THEIR paychecks and that the government promised to take care of until the time when, down the road, THEIR money would come back to them in the form of benefits and assistance.  Plain and simple.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:03:38 PM PST

    •  and, when someone gets to 'retirement age' (9+ / 0-)

      ask them what it feels like to be told you have to work even longer.

      I cry foul.

      I am 58 and 1/2 years old.

      If they think I am willing to work beyond the current stated retirement age, they have another thing coming.

      and even if they are talking about FUTURE people my age, I still fight it.

      I am someone who believes that this is beyond just me. It effects people who aren't at retirement age for decades, and I fight for them as well.

      I nominate Susan Rice for Secretary of State!

      by karma13612 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:26:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll be 63 in March and I have worked (0+ / 0-)

        since I was 16.  SS and medicare are earned benefits.  It will be extremely unfair if the rules change just before I get there.

        Research Shows Poverty Creates the Biggest Achievement Gap.

        by Desert Rose on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 04:28:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm 51 and don't hold out hopes that they will be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          karma13612

          there for me, but the fact that it's theft to call these earned benefits "gifts" that the government can just fold on, thereby stealing paid-for benefits from millions of Americans like you, like karma13612, like my partner, etc., pisses me off no end.  It makes me righteously angry!!!

          That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

          by concernedamerican on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 03:04:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  No justification in cutting these programs (4+ / 0-)

    Lets look for ways to make them better.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:09:44 PM PST

  •  We don't need to raise eligiblity age (5+ / 0-)

    we need to lower it... to 0.

    It's about time I changed my signature.

    by Khun David on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:13:48 PM PST

  •  They're only interested in what Wall Street (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    wants, not what a mere 79% of the American people want.

  •  Why didn't the poll give the option (5+ / 0-)

    of expanding Medicare?  Is that somehow contrary to the laws of physics?  We're not allowed to even express an opinion that it's okay to expand the deficit in order to cover more people with Medicare?

    In Roviet Union, money spends YOU!

    by Troubadour on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:19:54 PM PST

  •  things are so lopsided in this country (4+ / 0-)

    If people were asked to vote on specific issues, at a national level, just like the presidential election, we would see a whole lot more good things happening for the 99% in this country.

    How is it that we elect people to office and then the just run rough-shod over their constituents.

    when does it stop?

    Certainly not in my generation. I am 58 and 1/2 years old.

    My retirement as it stands now, is going to be lean and cold.

    This is my one shot at life.

    The repugs are hell bent on making it as miserable as they possibly can, just because they need their flipping donors to keep supporting their campaigns to keep them in office.

    So they can keep voting against the very life style of the people in this country.

    I repeat:

    when does it stop??

    I nominate Susan Rice for Secretary of State!

    by karma13612 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:32:06 PM PST

  •  Good government is not run by polls. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winsock

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:32:25 PM PST

  •  I remember similar polling (0+ / 0-)

    for the "public option" - you know, the weak tea alternative that we were willing to settle for after starting out demanding Medicare Part E to cover everyone that would have saved four-hundred fifty billion per year.

    I'm sure impressed with our "leaders" nobly serving their constituent's needs and best interests over the objections of their campaign contributors - oh, wait.  

    "extravagant advantage for the few, ultimately depresses the many." FDR

    by Jim R on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:39:07 PM PST

  •  not every american citizen (5+ / 0-)

    could be a doctor or a lawyer.

    some of us were only able to achieve a good decent job as an assistant to an assistant.

    A waitress, a taxi driver.

    are we supposed to work until we are 70 because we didn't get a golden retirement plan with healthcare paid for for life?

    are we less 'entitled' to a peaceful retirement filled with talking walks with grand kids and reading books or learning a new language?

    as with everything else in this country, the almighty buck is the currency and quality of life is a pipe dream.

    and it's wrong

    I nominate Susan Rice for Secretary of State!

    by karma13612 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:40:40 PM PST

  •  If politicians of ANY stripe were serious (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    about cutting the actual costs of health care, here's where they would start:

    A national 'census' of the location and number of medical imaging machines.

    Followed by a analysis of what percentage of the available ON time of each machine is being utilized.

    Such an investigation would show that American consumers of healthcare services which include medical imaging would be best served if the government restricted the numbers of such machines in geographic areas, placing them first in  public hospital systems, and allowing others as needed, by updated yearly reporting on usage of each machine & correlation with population base as reported by local counties (which do a yearly update, not simply waiting for each decade's US Census).

    With much fewer machines to pay for, the overall cost of medical imaging in a locality would start to drop significantly, after just a few short years.

    The explosion of imaging centers and worse yet, the entrance of small clinics and multi-physician practices into the medical imaging industry, has contributed greatly to the rising cost of healthcare.

    Each machine costs an exorbitant amount to purchase. The smaller practice with fewer patients will often have a practicing physician order the scan, and the front desk will assure the patient it can be done "right here!" and schedule them in. Convenient, but very, very costly. The patient is clueless of options on how much the scan costs (or even what their personal co-payment for the scan might be). The reason the patient is clueless?

    There is no regulatory agency in charge of looking out for patients when it comes to healthcare options and choices.

    Healthcare is one of the two industries in the nation which is not subject to the Anti-trust laws (professional baseball is the other). Which means collusion on pricing is perfectly legal.

    The other piece necessary to actually cut costs from healthcare?

    A Single Payer system that provides cradle to grave coverage, and which removes the profit incentive for insurance. It would convert the nation to a single, enormous, Self-Insured, group.

    With a defined benefit plan with a single form for reimbursement for any medical service provider, much like France uses today.

    Private, for profit healthcare insurance would be restricted to "add-on" coverage, like paying the co-pays or deductibles for the year; private hospital rooms, extras and perhaps cosmetic surgery options.

    Until the politicians are ready to talk about those two issues, there's really nothing to talk about.

    In less than 10 years, healthcare costs will eat up nearly 20% of the nation's GDP. $4.6 Trillion dollars. Half of which is going to be coming from Government (taxpayer). Something's got to give.

    I want it to be the for-profit healthcare insurance industry and the medical imaging sub-industry - and as a end-capper, the pharmaceutical industry.

    Which receives the largesse of taxpayer funded university research, and in return charges Americans more than anyone in the world for the drugs they produce.

    Why? Because all the other nations refuse to allow their citizens to be held up like the victims of a mugging, by the drug producers. They tell them, "we'll pay this much, and no more." And they do.

    So should we.


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

    by Angie in WA State on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:55:23 PM PST

  •  Joan, let's do to the GOP/TPers what they... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    want to do to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Education, Health Care for All, the Disabled, the Elderly, Children, Women, and LGBTIQ people.

    Do it to them, the 1%.

    Not to us, the 99%.

    Now, that's easy, right?

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:03:55 PM PST

  •  Trust (0+ / 0-)

    Or rather the lack of trust.  Previous and current Congresses have already authorized all the expenditures that the current Congress is threatening to not honor, by not raising the debt ceiling.

    Congress cannot be trusted.

    Therefore the grand plans for fixing the budget for a generation are pointless.  You think any agreement will be honored when their billionaire buddies want another tax break?  Let's try to improve the situation for 2-4 years out as much as we can, and let the long-term take care of itself.

    My trust of Congress has so eroded, else I would not be saying think short-term.

  •  Strengthening Retirement (0+ / 0-)

    Any difficulty funding Medicare goes back to huge increases in medical costs and the chronic habit of people in Congress to screw up the economy.

    Let's take just one example. This year our trade deficit is expected to be about $45 billion. This is down because the economy is down, but even at this low rate Social Security is losing about $1.5 billion this year in untaxed earnings.

    If these products had been produced in the U.S. they would have been produced by U.S. workers. Those workers would have accounted for about a quarter of the cost of these products. That means that about $12 billion was lost earnings for U.S. workers because of these imports. (The actual number could be higher or lower, depending on the real percentage of the prices that went into these products. But, it may have been higher because U.S. workers earn higher wages, although they are also more productive.)

    Since every dollar of wages is taxed 12.4% for Social Security (up to the limit, and no one in this bunch would have earned that) and 2.9% for medical insurance (the part that goes to Medicare), that means a total of about $1.8 billion was lost to our retirement funds because of the trade deficit.

    The trade deficit has been eating away at retirement funding for years. Over time it accounts for tens if not hundreds of billions lost.

    This has to stop. The way to stop it is to make importers pay an equivalent for this lost tax. That should be at least 4% as a kind of payroll tax on imports.

    It's idiocy like this that makes the current "deficit" talks such a farce. They are totally focused on the wrong deficit.

    Each time someone tells you we have to cut "benefits" or Social Security or Medicare or raise the retirement age or whatever, ask them why we shouldn't make all employers pay the payroll tax. Then, point out to them that these programs have been systematically shortchanged for decades.

    There is no reason to cut either of these programs. They just have to be funded the right way.

    This is why I keep calling for an international minimum wage, uniform tariffs, an increase in the employer share of the payroll taxes, and a hike in the domestic minimum wage. We have to focus on income, not cuts. The natural result of cutting is that eventually you have nothing.

    Ask any Republican.

  •  Good lord -- Medicare's bad enough already. (0+ / 0-)

    Cut it?
    Insane.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 02:15:57 AM PST

  •  Polling Agrees but.. (0+ / 0-)

    When you ask a person if you they should take a pay cut, what do you think they'll say?

    Look, before you jump all over me, hear me out. I don't want to cut Medicare or Social Security, I have four grandparents that, in large part, survive on medicare and social security. Medicare paid for my grandfathers quadruple bypass a few years ago.

    But I do understand that in 2002, Social Security accounted for 22.9% of all federal expenditures (source: SSA). I also understand that in FY2010, Medicare accounted for 15% of total federal expenditures (source: Kaiser Family Foundation).

    How can you be serious about cutting the federal deficits and reducing spending if 37.9% of the budget isn't even on the table? Keep in mind that expenditures in both programs are expected to increase every year as they are currently structured.

  •  The message of the people is simple (0+ / 0-)

    We pay the salary, health insurance and pensions of our elected leaders.  We are the boss! The boss says, "Do your job! You were elected to work on the hard stuff.  It isn't all cocktail parties and press conferences. Here's your assignment: Get us back on decent fiscal footing without hurting people who benefit from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security."  
    A couple of suggestions: Maybe the top 2% don't receive Medicare once they are eligible.  If Social Security is a concern, how about raising the cap? It stops at $110,000 right now.  Let's remove the cap from $110,000 to $250,000, that way we can address concerns of small business people. Above $250,000 time to pay!
    Concerned about all that free birth control?  Why not allow an over the counter birth control pill?  Really, is there any reason, beyond religious,  that there isn't an OTC birth control pill?

  •  Cut them? What pure GOP nonsence is this? (0+ / 0-)

    We need to expand both of the these popular programs, most Americans would like that and of course they don't want anyone messing with these programs like Bush tried when he was going to stick SS into the stock market casino and we know what happened to the casino in 2008, it lost alot of money for people but this did not effect SS because it was not part of the casino.

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