Americans want to cut the deficit, but they don’t want to cut Medicare, Social Security or education to do it, according to the new Kaiser Family Foundation/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health survey — 58 percent want no cuts to Medicare or Social Security and 61 percent want to completely preserve current public education spending.
So what do Americans want to cut?
71 percent of want at least some cuts to defense. Clear majorities also say they are for some cuts to health insurance subsidies, unemployment insurance, food stamps, aid to farmers, federal salaries, foreign aid and the war in Afghanistan.
Medicare remains extremely popular — 60 percent say the program is working well. Eight out of 10 seniors aged 65 and older feel the program is working. That popularity is behind the desire to improve the program, as even 76 percent of Republicans say the deficit can be cut without cutting Medicare.
Despite this, some Medicare reforms are popular, including negotiating better rates from prescription drug suppliers and requiring high-income seniors to pay higher premiums.
A slight majority, 51 percent, oppose raising the Medicare eligibility age. Ironically. 64 percent of those already on Medicare approve of raising the eligibility age, though 59 percent reject lowering payments to providers.
A majority also support expanding Medicaid to cover up to 17 million uninsured Americans who currently earn too much to receive it, but only earn 133 percent of the federal poverty level or below. Because of the Supreme Court’s ruling, states can reject Medicaid expansion, though their residents will still be taxed for it and the state’s immigrants will still have to be covered.
The poll was conducted from Jan. 3 through Jan. 9. It surveyed 1,347 adults and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.