What Seniors Think About Proposals To “Fix” Medicare

What Seniors Think About Proposals To “Fix” Medicare

TSCL Releases Results of 2013 Senior Survey

Medicare spending in 2013 accounts for 16% of the federal budget. That spending is projected to almost double as a share of the nation’s economy in coming years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The House, Senate, and the President's budget plans contain a number of provisions that would cut federal spending on Medicare. But how do senior voters view the proposals?

From January through March, TSCL surveyed seniors and disabled Medicare beneficiaries to learn how our readers feel about many of the proposals under debate. Almost 5,000 of you weighed in. The answers are important as members of Congress consider major changes to Medicare, most of which would make people pay more for their benefits.

Higher benefit costs may not be a financial choice for the majority of seniors. Half of all survey respondents report spending 11% to 33% of their Social Security benefit on healthcare costs, and another 22% reported spending 34% to 50% of their benefit. The following table illustrates how respondents answered.

2013 Senior Survey: How Seniors Feel About Medicare Savings Proposals

Proposal Strongly Favor Somewhat Favor Somewhat Oppose Strongly Oppose
Gradually raise the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 67. 23% 37% 16% 24%
Increase Medicare premiums for all beneficiaries. 6% 16% 23% 55%
Increase Medicare premiums for wealthy beneficiaries 40% 30% 15% 15%
Require new Medicare enrollees who enroll in a Medigap plan to pay a 30% surcharge on their premiums. 6% 20% 31% 43%
Require all beneficiaries to pay a $550 deductible out-of-pocket and restrict supplements and health plans from covering the cost. 3% 6% 19% 72%
Require new enrollees to pay higher Part B deductibles that would increase by $25 in 2017, 2019 and 2021. 7% 25% 29% 39%
Require all beneficiaries to pay new 20% co-insurance or co-pays for all services that currently have no cost sharing, including home healthcare and skilled nursing facilities. 4% 12% 22% 62%
Allow the federal government to negotiate with drug companies to get lower prices. 65% 20% 5% 10%
Allow the re-importation of FDA-approved drugs from Canada and other nations where prescriptions cost less. 64% 24% 7% 5%
Ramp up Medicare anti-fraud efforts. 93% 6% 0% 1%
Promote better integration of care to reduce duplication of tests, services, and expensive imaging. 76% 20% 2% 2%
Increase Medicare payroll taxes on all workers. 11% 42% 28% 19%
Increase Medicare payroll taxes on high-income workers only. 39% 30% 17% 14%

Thanks to all of you who so willingly spent your time and shared your opinions. Surveys can influence votes! TSCL recently released the results of the 2013 survey to the media, and is sharing the findings of this key annual Senior Survey in meetings with Members of Congress. To participate in TSCL polls and surveys, visit www.SeniorsLeague.org.


Sources: "Medicare And The Federal Budget, Comparison of Medicare Provisions," Kaiser Family Foundation, March 2013.