Health Care

Three in four Americans say Medicare changes needed for future sustainability

President Joe Biden arrives to speak about his administration’s plans to protect Social Security and Medicare and lower healthcare costs, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, at the University of Tampa in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Three out of four adults said changes need to be made to the Medicare program for it to be sustainable for the future, according to a new poll. 

A Kaiser Family Foundation Health poll released Thursday found 73 percent of respondents believe changes are needed to keep the program going, while only 26 percent said the program will be sustainable if left mostly as is.

Pollsters found Americans across the political spectrum view Medicare favorably, including 89 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of independents. 

But respondents from across the spectrum also indicated they are concerned about the future of Medicare. More than 80 percent said they are very or somewhat worried that Medicare will not be able to provide the same level of benefits in the future that it currently provides to senior citizens, including more than three-quarters of Democrats, Republicans and independents. 

Those aged 50 to 64 are the most concerned, with 44 percent saying they are very worried and 43 percent saying they are somewhat worried. Only 29 percent of those 65 and older and 25 percent of those 18 to 29 said they are very worried, but 46 percent and 53 percent of those age groups, respectively, said they are somewhat worried. 

The future of Medicare and other social programs like Social Security have come into the national spotlight in recent months as Congress and the White House prepare to debate over raising the debt ceiling. 

Republicans have said that spending cuts are needed for them to agree to vote to raise the debt limit. President Biden and Democrats have accused the GOP of potentially threatening to cut funding to Medicare and Social Security, which Republicans have denied

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said essentially all spending is on the table to possibly be cut except for Medicare and Social Security. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation said funding for Medicare will hit a shortfall starting in 2028 based on current trajectories. 

Respondents 65 and older were the least likely to say that changes should be made to Medicare to ensure its sustainability, with only 59 percent saying so. More than three-quarters of all other age groups said changes should be made. 

The poll was conducted from March 14 to 23 among 1,271 U.S. adults. The margin of error was 3 points.

Tags medicare medicare cuts

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