Should We Gut Medicare Like a Trout?

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Ezra Klein point us to the latest Gallup poll on Medicare, and he’s gobsmacked that among Republicans the most popular position is that Medicare shouldn’t be touched at all. They don’t think we should even try to control costs, let alone gut it the way Paul Ryan is proposing. But I think I’d highlight something else:

A pretty large majority wants either no changes or only minor changes, and this is true of all three subgroups. This doesn’t surprise me, but I’d like to see a followup that paired each option with the taxes it would require. In other words, your options would be:

  • Major changes & taxes about the same as today
  • Minor changes & higher taxes
  • No cost control & and significantly higher taxes

I’m willing to bet that the results would be roughly the same, with perhaps a chunk of the “no cost control” folks moving into the minor changes column.

But I might be wrong, so it would be worth finding out. These kinds of questions, after all, are pretty useless if they’re not tied to anything else. I mean, who wouldn’t be in favor of leaving everything the way it is if they don’t understand that it might cost them more?

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