Voters Support Certain Taxes, Oppose Raising Medicare Eligibility Age
More than 60% of registered voters support President Obama's plan to raise taxes on individuals with annual incomes of more than $250,000, while 69% oppose a proposal endorsed by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Wednesday, The Hill's "Blog Briefing Room" reports (Sink, "Blog Briefing Room," The Hill, 11/28).
The poll is based on a telephone survey of 1,016 U.S. adults conducted between Nov. 20 and Nov. 25 (Washington Post, 11/28).
Both raising taxes on high-income U.S. residents and increasing the Medicare eligibility age have been discussed as possibilities in ongoing negotiations to reach a deal to avoid automatic spending cuts under sequestration, which include a 2% reduction to all Medicare reimbursement rates in 2013.
The survey found that 44% of respondents said they strongly support raising taxes on high-income U.S. residents. About 64% of those with annual incomes of less than $50,000 support such a measure and 57% of voters with annual incomes of more than $100,000 support the proposal.
Meanwhile, 36% of respondents oppose such a measure, of which 24% strongly oppose it. Almost three-quarters of self-identified Democrats support raising taxes on high-income U.S. residents, while 63% of independent voters and nearly 40% of Republicans support such a measure. Meanwhile, 46% of self-identified Republicans strongly oppose raising taxes on high-income U.S. residents.
Nearly half of all respondents said they strongly oppose the proposal to raise the Medicare eligibility age ("Blog Briefing Room," The Hill, 11/28). The bid to gradually increase the eligibility age was included in Corker's proposed deficit-reduction package (Puzzanghera, "Money & Co.," Los Angeles Times, 11/28).
The plan encountered strong bipartisan opposition, with 71% of Democrats and 68% of Republicans opposing the proposal. Meanwhile, 34% of independents said they supported such a plan ("Blog Briefing Room," The Hill, 11/28).
Majority Want Focus on Reducing Health Costs
In related news, 69% of voters want Obama to focus on reducing health care costs during his second term in office, according to a separate PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute survey, Healthcare Finance News reports.
About 50% of respondents said the federal government should achieve lower health care costs in part by reducing physician and hospital reimbursements. However, the report notes that such a move "would leave a growing patient population with fewer providers -- and it could translate to smaller access networks for managed care providers."
Further, 42% supported reducing federal investments in health IT. Again, researchers cautioned against such a move, writing, "Most industry experts believe that interoperable digital records and sophisticated clinical informatics will lead to improved health outcomes and eventually, lower costs."
The survey also found support for other cost-saving measures, such as:
- Reducing public health and prevention programs (31%);
- Reducing subsidized care, including Medicaid, for low-income individuals (27%); and
- Reducing research and development investments for new drugs (21%).
In addition, the poll found that many U.S. residents continue to be unhappy with the Affordable Care Act, with 43% responding that the law should be modified and 36% wanting a full repeal. Meanwhile, 21% supported the current law (Anderson, Healthcare Finance News, 11/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.