Polls reveal Americans' opinions on ACA, Medicare reform

While pollsters are busy this week predicting the outcome of our next presidential election, a pair of surveys looked at how healthcare might fare – and a few surprises emerged.

Regardless of who wins the White House, one survey found, Americans believe Obamacare will survive, albeit not entirely intact. But according to another poll, it’s the younger generation of voters that don’t necessarily favor that result.

[See also: Romney and Ryan camps clarify health law positions]

As many as seven in 10 Americans, in fact, believe that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will take full effect, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll published on Wednesday. The AP-GfK surveyors also determined that of the 1,334 respondents 41 percent think the ACA will undergo minor changes, while 31 percent anticipate major changes and only 11 percent expect no changes at all.

Those findings appear to be indicative of what respondents believe will happen, not necessarily what they want to occur.

“Overall, the poll found Americans divided on the question of repeal, with neither side able to claim a majority,” the Associated Press-GfK reported. “Forty-nine percent said the health care law should be repealed completely, while 44 percent said it should be implemented as written.”

However unlikely the reality that the ACA will be implemented verbatim, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that only a quarter of respondents 55 years and older are hoping Medicare will change. Among younger voters, which Kaiser categorized as between 18 and 54, however, half want to keep Medicare as it is, while 44 percent would rather switch to a premium support model.

[See also: Romney argues for individual mandate in Mass., against it nationally]

“The age gap is somewhat ironic, because those who are most opposed to the proposed new system would be least affected,” Kaiser Health News wrote in Younger Americans more receptive to GOP Medicare Plan. “Ryan’s plan would exempt those over 55 and allow them to remain in traditional Medicare, a feature supported by Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential candidate. Nonetheless, this carve out has not won over the elderly – who are among the most reliable voting blocs – the poll shows.”

In another twist, Kaiser asked Democrats under age 55 about the Republican’s approach, but intentionally did not associate it with the GOP – 44 percent supported it.

Both the AP-GfK and Kaiser surveys determined that participants are quite evenly split on the matter of healthcare, though Americans don’t necessarily understand the ACA or proposed changes to Medicare and Medicaid.


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