America Hearts Medicare; Paul Ryan, Not So Much

There was concern that Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal would prevent Democrats from winning the messaging war on Paul Ryan’s Medicare voucher (read: privatization) scheme. Apparently, even the salacious revelations couldn’t distract most Americans from imminent danger to their cherished social program:

By a margin of 57 percent to 34 percent, poll respondents say they would be worse off if Ryan’s plan to convert Medicare to a system of subsidized private health coverage were adopted. Fifty-eight percent of independents, a critical voting bloc in recent elections, say they would be worse off.

What’s more, the unpopularity of the plan is translating to increased negatives for Mr. Ryan, who now can only count Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich as even less popular Republican politicians; the Policy Heavyweight, who was brandished about as a potential presidential candidate, has touched the third rail of American politics, and is paying a price. Centrist think tanks and editorial boards may be praising his “courage,” but Americans just see a bully who wants to gut healthcare for seniors.

The poll, conducted by Selzer & Co., which has a great track record, also found that 61 percent of Americans either want to leave Obama’s 2010 healthcare law alone, or see how it works and make changes, while 35 percent want repeal now. These numbers suggest it will hardly be a prohibitive liability heading in 2012, and will serve only to rile up each party’s base. [Bloomberg]


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