WASHINGTON, July 28 (UPI) -- Only 22 percent of U.S. seniors age 65 and older say the Affordable Health Care Act would not cut their basic Medicare benefits, a survey indicates.
The survey for the National Council on Aging found 42 percent of the seniors say -- incorrectly -- that healthcare reform will cut their basic Medicare benefits, while 37 percent say they did not know.
James Firman, president of the council, says with the federal budget deficit debated daily, 14 percent of seniors say the new law is projected to reduce the deficit, but 49 percent -- incorrectly -- say the law will increase the deficit. Projections by the Congressional Budget Office say the law will reduce the deficit by an estimated $124 billion over a 10-year period, Firman says.
Forty-three percent of the seniors say -- correctly -- the law expands coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans and 42 percent say -- also correctly -- the law will gradually close the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap, or "doughnut hole."
The survey also says:
-- 14 percent of seniors know the law does not cut Medicare payments to doctors.
-- 24 percent know the law is projected to extend the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund.
-- 28 percent say, correctly, the law improves availability of long-term care at home for seniors with disabilities.
The telephone survey, conducted by Harris Interactive July 9-12 among 636 U.S. adults age 65 and older has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
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