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Americans ambivalent on Medicare reform

April 27, 2012 at 7:57 PM

NORWALK, Conn., April 27 (UPI) -- Americans agree Medicare needs reform, as long as the cost of reform doesn't have to come out of their own pockets, a poll indicates.

A Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll released Friday showed 83 percent of respondents said they believe changes are necessary to keep Medicare sustainable and affordable, with 51 percent saying "a great deal of change" is required, but they don't want to make any personal accommodations.

"There's a clear majority who think there is a problem that needs to be addressed, but [people also believe] if the changes are going to cost me money in terms of higher co-pays, higher deductibles or higher taxes, no thank you," said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll.

Medicare spending, estimate to account for 15 percent of the federal budget, is projected to rise to 17.5 percent by 2020, the report said.

The survey offered respondents nine proposals for slowing Medicare spending and found 72 percent favored cutting the amount Medicare pays for prescription drugs to pharmaceutical companies. The poll indicated 47 percent favored cutting fees to hospitals and 41 percent said they favored Medicare cutting payment to doctors.

Sixty percent said they opposed increased co-pays and deductibles but 57 percent said individuals with higher incomes should pay more for Medicare benefits than people with lower-incomes.

The poll was conducted among 2,229 U.S adults over 18 surveyed online April 5-9 by Harris Interactive. Harris does not provide margin of error information.

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