New poll: 70 percent of seniors oppose plan to overhaul Medicare
Jul 10, 2012, 8:27 a.m.
Alexandria, VA (July 9, 2012) - Seniors overwhelmingly oppose widely-debated Medicare plans that would fundamentally change the system, according to a new poll conducted by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Seventy percent of poll respondents said Medicare should not be changed, from a program that guarantees coverage for a fixed set of benefits, to one that guarantees a fixed federal payment to cover a portion of beneficiaries' healthcare expenses. Only 13 percent supported changing the system.
In response to concerns over reducing the rising federal debt and deficits, proposals are under debate that propose transforming Medicare into a system of "premium support." Beneficiaries would be given a fixed amount of money with which to purchase their Medicare coverage. Proposals differ in how the payments for beneficiaries would be determined, and whether the Medicare fee-for-service system would remain a choice. The extent to which the federal government would cap the contribution per beneficiary is also a key issue, as well as protections for low-income beneficiaries.
A recent TSCL survey conducted in the fall of 2011 indicates that seniors already spend a significant portion of their Social Security benefits on Medicare costs. Thirty-six percent reported spending up to $299 a month, more than one-quarter of today's average monthly Social Security benefit. "And that's the good news," says TSCL Chairman Larry Hyland. Another 27 percent of respondents to the survey reported spending up to $599 a month. "That's about half of the average monthly Social Security benefit," Hyland notes.
Congress and the President enacted about $500 billion in Medicare spending cuts in the 2010 healthcare law. In addition, last year's debt limit agreement required an automatic 2 percent Medicare spending cut from payments to hospitals and other providers that are scheduled to go into effect starting in 2013.
"After November elections, the next Congress and president will be tackling Medicare again and the major proposals to cut Medicare spending would do so by shifting a greater share of the costs to seniors," says Hyland. TSCL believes that to produce savings for Medicare, Congress should first require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to do a better job in preventing and recovering money lost to fraud, waste, and abuse. TSCL is working to share the results of its polls and surveys with Members of Congress. To participate in a monthly TSCL poll, visit www.SeniorsLeague.org.
For more information about Social Security and Medicare benefits, keeping costs low while living in retirement, get a free copy of The Social Security & Medicare Advisor. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope and $1 for shipping and handling to: The Senior Citizens League, 1001 N. Fairfax St., Suite 101, Alexandria, VA 22314.
With over 1 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Located just outside Washington, D.C., its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association. Please visit www.SeniorsLeague.org or call 1-800-333-8725 for more information.
Distributed by The Senior Exchange, Inc.
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