|Two recent government reports show substantial short-term improvements in the financial outlook for Medicare and in the federal budget deficit.1,2 However, these forecasts also suggest the need for further action brought about by a worsening of the financial situation after 2015 as the number of Medicare recipients increases from 52 million to 73 million in the decade following.1-3 This issue is likely to receive considerable attention in the upcoming debate about the federal budget deficit and the national debt.|
As we reported in the Journal in 2011, there has been little public support for major policy changes aimed at reducing Medicare spending to lower the federal deficit.4 This article goes further and seeks to document the underlying beliefs that may shape the public response to future efforts to substantially slow projected Medicare spending. Our thesis is that there exists today a wide gap in beliefs between experts on the financial state of Medicare and the public at large. Because of the potential electoral consequences, these differences in perception are likely to have ramifications for policymakers addressing this issue.
We examine this thesis by analyzing data from six public opinion polls conducted in 2013 with 1013 to 2017 U.S. adults, plus historical data, in a project supported by the Robert Wood Johnson...
Robert J. Blendon, Sc.D., and John M. Benson, M.A.
N Engl J Med 2013; 369:1066-1073September 12, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsr1307622
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