Turning Medicare into a voucher program or a “premium support” program, as Rep. Paul Ryan would describe his plan for Medicare, is highly unpopular with basically all segments of the American people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation poll. The poll found 58 percent want to keep Medicare as is, including 55 percent of Republicans. From Kaiser Family Foundation:
Which of these two descriptions comes closer to your view of what Medicare should look like in the future?
58%…. Option A: Medicare should continue as it is today, with the government guaranteeing all seniors the same set of health insurance benefits
36%…. Option B: Medicare should be changed to a system in which the government guarantees each senior a fixed amount of money to help them purchase coverage either from traditional Medicare or from a list of private health plans 36%
This is probably the most generous way to describe Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan, which Mitt Romney has now seemed to fully embrace, and it is still opposed by a solid majority of the public.
The simple fact is that even the basic idea of voucherizing Medicare is unpopular and it is only likely to get much less popular when people understand the negative effects of specific proposals.
I can only assume that if the question mentioned that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, under Ryan’s plan, the voucher amounts would not grow as fast as insurance costs, and that would result in seniors paying more out of pocket for the same amount of health insurance, support for it would be significantly lower than this poll found.
Looking at the poll, it is easy to understand why Democrats are very happy that the national debate is focused on whether or not to turn Medicare into a voucher program. What is less clear is why the Romney campaign thought it was a good idea to take the focus off the economy and put it on Medicare by selecting Paul Ryan as his running mate.