Fiscal Cliff Looming, Healthcare Providers Move to Protect Funding

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , December 6, 2012

The AHA survey found that opponents of Medicare and Medicaid funding cuts include:

  • 74% of Democrats, 58% of Independents, and 69% of Republicans;
  • 63% of men and 75% of women;
  • 71% of whites and 64% of voters of color;
  • 70% of voters under age 35, 63% of voters age 35-44, 73% of voters age 45-64, and 67% of seniors; and,
  • More than three-in-five in every region of the country

Even though the poll shows that the public does not want Congress to cut Medicaid and Medicare funding, Pollack says the programs are too big to ignore.

"A lot of that just comes down to the size of the budget," Pollack says. "When you look the whole budget and the fact that Medicare and Medicaid combined represent a big portion of federal spending, it immediately gets into the discussion in a significant way. It’s as simple as that."

The survey also shows that the public holds hospitals in high regard, with two-thirds of respondents saying they held a favorable views, and one-third have "very favorable" views of hospitals.

Only 9% of survey respondents said they had an unfavorable view of hospitals, and 21% largely said they have a mixed or half-and-half opinion. That high regard for hospitals extended across party lines, 66% of Republicans, 62% of Independents, and 70% of Democrats saying they held a favorable impression.

In stark contrast, separate polls have shown that Congress has some of the highest unfavorable ratings in its history. Averaging approval ratings of about 16%, Congress is about as popular in the United States as Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Paris Hilton.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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