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Just 33% Confident They’ll Get All Their Promised Medicare Benefits

Most voters still have a favorable opinion of Medicare but aren’t confident that they will get all their promised benefits. However, most also aren’t willing to pay more in taxes to make sure those benefits are covered.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters hold at least a somewhat favorable opinion of Medicare while34% regard the government health insurance program for elderly Americans at least somewhat unfavorably. Those figures include 24% with a Very Favorable opinion and 10% who have a Very Unfavorable opinion of it. These findings are little changed from June.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

But just 33% of voters are even somewhat confident that the Medicare system will pay them all their promised retirement benefits during their lifetime. That includes only 10% who are Very Confident. Sixty-three percent (63%) do not share that confidence, including 28% who are Not At All Confident that they will get their full benefits. Voters are only slightly more confident that they’ll receive their full Social Security benefits in their lifetime.

Perhaps that helps explain why just a plurality (47%) thinks Medicare is a good deal for working Americans today. Thirty percent (30%) say it’s not a good deal, while 23% more are not sure.

Still, only 29% of voters favor raising taxes to make sure Medicare has enough money to pay all promised benefits. Thirty-eight percent (38%) think it’s a better idea to raise the eligibility age for future generations (65 is now the age when most Americans are eligible). Just 12% support cutting the promised level of benefits to make sure the Medicare system remains solvent. Twenty-one percent (21%) are not sure which course is the one to follow. This is in line with what voters proposed for both Social Security and Medicare earlier this year.

When it comes to health care issues, voters are evenly divided as to whether they trust Republicans or Democrats more.  Prior to Election 2008, Democrats had a huge edge on this issue. After passage of the president’s Health Care law, the GOP gained a huge advantage that helped them in Election 2010. After Republican Congressman Paul Ryan introduced his Medicare reform plan, the GOP lost its advantage on the issue. 

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 5-6, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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