MEDICARE: 51% Support For Near-Elderly Plan
Just over half of all Americans support President Clinton's proposal to expand Medicare eligibility to the near-elderly, according to a new Pew Research Center For The People & The Press survey. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they favored the Clinton plan, which would allow persons in the 55-64 age group to buy into Medicare; 41% said they opposed it. The Pew survey also found that 18% of Americans are following the Medicare expansion issue "very closely," while 30% said they are watching the issue "fairly closely"; 52% said they are following it "not too closely" or "not at all closely." Sixty-four percent of respondents said they believe "taking steps to make the Medicare system financially sound" should be a "top priority," while 31% it said should be an "important but lower priority." In addition, 62% said "reforming health care" should be a "top priority," while 27% said it should be an "important but lower priority." When asked what should be done with the money from any federal budget surplus, 33% of those interviewed said it should be used "for increased spending on domestic programs such as health, education and the environment," followed by 32% who said it should be use "to help make the Social Security and Medicare programs financially sound." Twenty-two percent of those surveyed said it should be used "to pay off the national debt more quickly," and 11% said it should be used "for a tax cut." The Pew survey interviewed 1,218 adults between January 14-18; it has a +/-3% margin of error (release, 1/23).
Seniors' Mixed Views
A recent American Viewpoint survey finds that seniors are almost equally divided on the Clinton Medicare expansion proposal. Forty-two percent of respondents ages 65 and over said they favor the proposal, while 40% said they oppose it. In the 55-64 age group, 36% favor the plan while 42% oppose it. When asked whether the expansion plan is a good or bad idea, 35% of persons over age 65 said it is a bad idea and 47% called it a good idea. Among the 55-64 respondents, 38% called the Medicare expansion a bad idea and 49% said it is a good idea. Among all age groups, 47% of respondents favored the Clinton plan and 36% opposed it. The American Viewpoint survey of 1,000 adults was conducted January 15-19; it has a +/-3.2% margin of error (release, 1/21).