While Republicans keep trying to shove major cuts to Medicare benefits, including increasing the eligibility age, onto the fiscal
The health care program for the elderly is at the center of discussions, and prominent panels that have studied the deficit and issued recommendations have often targeted it. But a full 79 percent of those surveyed want the fiscal-cliff negotiators not to cut the program at all. Only 17 percent would be willing to see it cut some, and a minuscule 3 percent would be OK with it being cut a lot.The public wasn't riven over Medicare in the election, which the folks at Democracy Corps remind us from their election day polling.
We gave voters a choice between two statements—one acknowledging the federal deficit as a big problem, but arguing against major spending cuts in Social Security and Medicare and the other arguing that deficits are such a national crisis that broad spending cuts must include “possible future cuts” to Social Security and Medicare. Even with this cautious statement, the “no cuts” position won by almost a two-to-one margin (60 percent to 33 percent) and with great intensity; almost half of all voters (47 percent) strongly believe that cuts to Social Security and Medicare should be off the table.As the Democracy Corp memo says, this is critical stuff for the American public: "The polling shows the mandate is to protect Medicare and Social Security, not cut them. And Washington will face a TARP-like reaction if they read the election wrong." The election results give Democrats all the mandate they need to fight for keeping these programs safe. The next election should give them the impetus to do it.