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Poll: Majority expect Medicare crisis

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According to a new USA Today/Gallup poll, 67 percent of Americans believe Social Security and Medicare costs are already creating a fiscal crisis for the federal government (34 percent) or will do so within the next 10 years (33 percent). Results come from an April poll which asked people what they see as the major cause of the deficit and what means they favor for solving the problem.

Republicans were significantly more likely than Democrats to believe that the program is now creating or will create in the next decade a crisis, with 76 to 54 percent respectively. The views of independent voters align more closely with those of Republicans. Seniors are the least likely group to see a present or looming crisis in spending on Social Security and Medicare at just 57 percent.

Although a majority of Americans believe the two programs are creating or will soon create a crisis for the government, according to an earlier USA Today/Gallup poll, they also do not necessarily believe the government should do anything about it, with 27 percent preferring the government not control Medicare costs and 34 percent supporting only minor changes to the program. These contradictory views make the debate over what to do about entitlement spending all the more difficult for politicians and policymakers.