Americans show wavering support for the new Medicare reform bill depending on what information they are given, according to a new poll by the National Annenberg Election Survey in Washington, D.C.
In the poll, released Saturday, 63% of 1,615 people questioned Dec. 8 through Dec. 23 said they favored "a Medicare bill, which, among other things, provides prescription drug coverage for senior citizens and allows private companies to provide some Medicare services."
But only 21% continued to support the bill when they were told: "Some people say the prescription drug coverage benefits won't help many seniors very much, and cutting costs by bringing in private companies will eventually destroy Medicare."
The only age cohort where less than a majority (46%) supported the bill in the first question was the one with an immediate stake in the issue--Americans age 65 and over, NAES reports. And after the survey's follow-up question, only 16% of that group favored the bill, it says.
Debate over the Medicare bill is "sure to be raised in the coming political campaign," NAES says in a release.
The National Annenberg Election Survey is a project of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.