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Americans to Congress: Hands off our Medicare

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In the wake of the last-minute agreement that avoided a government shutdown, a new Gallup poll is revealing how Americans feel about a number of issues, including the proposal to significantly cut domestic programs. Among Republicans, 64 percent favor cutting such programs versus 60 percent of Democrats who are opposed to such cuts. Independent voters are fairly split regarding the issue, with 44 percent in favor of cuts and 48 percent opposed.

When asked about Medicare, however, poll respondents came down firmly against Republican Paul Ryan’s proposal to overhaul the current Medicare system, replacing the government-administered program with a premium subsidy program. Even when framed as a method of controlling costs, the proposal received only a 31 percent approval rating among respondents, while 61 percent said Congress should either make minor adjustments to the program or abandon altogether any attempt to control program costs.

Among Democrats and Republicans, support for an overhaul is roughly the same, 30 and 34 percent respectively. Of the two groups, Republicans are actually more likely to favor no attempt to control Medicare costs at 33 percent versus 21 percent of Democrats.

Although respondents were mostly in favor of the budget stopgap measure, most are unsure which party is winning the battle of the budget. Americans are indeed worried about the sky-high federal deficit, and at this point in the struggle to find a solution, with Republicans urging deep spending cuts and Democrats arguing for higher taxes on the wealthy, the Democrats’ position seems to have the public’s favor.