Most Americans think both sides playing politics with Medicare: poll

Medicare is the largest payer of medical services in the U.S., with more than 18 percent of the population covered.

Most Americans said in a new survey that both Democrats and Republicans are playing political games with Medicare rather than making plans to address it.

The Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll found that 79 percent of Americans believe that lawmakers are playing politics around Medicare instead of working on actual plans. Just 19 percent of Americans responded that politicians’ arguments surrounding Medicare were about making plans, not playing games.

More than 90 percent of Republicans said that lawmakers were using the arguments as political games, as did 67 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of independent voters.

The debate engulfing Medicare and other welfare programs, such as Social Security, has been ongoing for months, as Democrats have accused Republicans of wanting to make spending cuts to these programs. Republicans have asked Democrats to make promises on spending cuts, which they say won’t include the entitlement programs, in exchange for raising the debt limit.

Medicare is expected to hit a funding shortfall in 2028, with Social Security following in 2032. GOP lawmakers have floated several ideas to address the issue, including raising age requirements, not touching the programs at all and requiring Congress to reapprove the programs on an annual basis.

President Biden has proposed a tax on the wealthy to bolster these programs instead. His budget proposal included an increase from the current 3.8 percent rate to a 5 percent Medicare tax rate on earned and unearned income above $400,000.

The poll also found that about three-fourths of Americans said changes need to be made to Medicare to keep it sustainable in the future, with older adults less likely to support changes to the program.

The poll was conducted from March 14 to 23 among 1,271 U.S. adults, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation website.

Tags debt ceiling KFF medicare President Joe Biden

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