The public is overwhelmingly opposed to major cuts in Medicare to help balance the budget by 2002, according to a poll commissioned by the nation’s largest organization of seniors.
Seventy-four percent said Medicare should not be targeted, while just 18 percent said the $178 billion health insurance plan for the elderly and disabled should be cut “substantially,” according to the survey released Friday by the American Association of Retired Persons.
Opposition to substantial cuts was strongest among Democrats (82 percent), but was high among independents (76 percent) and Republicans (63 percent) as well.
John Rother, the AARP’s legislative director, said, “Americans of all political persuasions are saying to Congress: Be careful. Don’t try to cut too much, too soon.”
ICR Survey Research conducted the telephone poll of 1,286 adults May 5-14. It had a 2.8 percentagepoint margin of error.
Jim Martin, chairman of 60 Plus Association, a conservative group, criticized the AARP survey.
“They should have asked retirees two pertinent questions. One, did you know that President Clinton’s own trustees have declared that Medicare will be bankrupt in a few years? And two, if nothing is done … did you know your Medicare costs will skyrocket by 300 percent?” he said in a statement.
The group also charged the AARP was trying to divert attention from congressional hearings that Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., is holding questioning AARP’s tax-exempt status.