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Americans Oppose Voucherizing Medicare But Don’t Know It Is Paul Ryan’s Plan

Yet another poll shows that the general idea of voucherizing Medicare is very unpopular with voters. According to the most recent Pew Research poll only 34 percent of adults favor the idea of turning Medicare into a system were people get credits to buy private insurance, while 49 percent oppose the idea. From Pew:

The basic idea is unpopular even without the poll mentioning that under Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan the voucher would not keep up with health care cost growth. As a result seniors would end up paying more of their own money to achieve the same level of benefits. I can only imagine that including that important detail would tank the already low support for the concept.

The poll also found that Americans clearly value Medicare and Social Security above the idea of reducing the deficit. A majority, 51 percent, think it is most important to keep Medicare and Social Security benefits as they are, and that’s more important than deficit reduction, while just a third think reducing the deficit is more important than protecting benefits.

None of this is new. Despite aggressive efforts to create a Washington consensus in direct opposition to the will of the electorate, poll after poll shows the American people value our entitlement programs and think protecting them is more important than deficit reduction.

The one interesting new development in this poll that could have some real political ramification is that it found most Americans don’t know that the Republican VP candidate is the creator and chief promoter of the several pushes to voucherize Medicare. Only 23 percent of people who have even heard of the idea to voucherize Medicare know it is Paul Ryan’s plan (and approved by the GOP House). It will be interesting to see what happens to Ryan’s favorability rating once Democrats spend several million dollars pointing out exactly what Ryan wants to do to Medicare.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at