KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Polls Show Public Reluctance For Trimming Medicare To Curb The Deficit

A new AP-GfK poll found most Americans favor letting tax cuts expire for top wage earners and a Quinnipiac poll found that voters oppose cutting Medicaid spending and increasing the Medicare eligibility age.

The Associated Press: Poll Shows Support For Raising Taxes On The Rich
Americans prefer letting tax cuts expire for the country's top earners, as President Barack Obama insists, while support has declined for cutting government services to curb budget deficits, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows. Fewer than half the Republicans polled favor continuing the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. There's also a reluctance to trim Social Security, Medicare or defense programs, three of the biggest drivers of federal spending, the survey released Wednesday found (Fram and Agiesta, 12/6).

Politico: Poll Shows Support For Raising Taxes On The Rich
[A new Quinnipiac] poll also showed that voters overwhelmingly oppose cutting Medicaid spending, 70-25 percent. Voters surveyed also oppose gradually raising the Medicare eligibility age, 51-44 percent, and don't support cuts to military spending by a margin of 55-41 percent. Those surveyed also said a "no-taxes" pledge isn't a good idea, 85-10 percent (Glueck, 12/6).

Meanwhile, an American Hospital Association poll found more public wariness about cuts --

Los Angeles Times: Public Wary Of Cutting Hospital Payments To Reduce Deficit
Nearly seven in 10 registered voters said they oppose reductions in what the government Medicare and Medicaid health insurance programs pay hospitals, the survey found. Two-thirds believe that such cuts would harm access to healthcare. “This is simply not a direction that is popular with the public,” said Public Opinion Strategies co-founder Bill McInturff, a veteran Washington pollster who conducted the survey for the American Hospital Assn. (Levey, 12/5).

Modern Healthcare: Voters Oppose Medicare Cuts to Hospitals: AHA Poll
The poll also illustrated the challenge that hospital advocates face in convincing members of Congress to oppose specific cuts to them. About half of the poll respondents had no opinion about a proposed $1 billion in cuts from reducing payments for evaluation and management in hospital settings to the level provided for office-based physicians—even after the voters were provided descriptions of the issue (Daly, 12/5).

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