National Bipartisan Poll Finds 75 Percent of Registered Voters Disapprove of Higher Fees on U.S. Seniors' Medicare Services

Strong majority of Democratic, Republican and Independent Voters Oppose Increased Medicare Copayments to Reduce Federal Spending

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new bipartisan Public Policy Polling (D)/Fabrizio Ward (R) survey finds registered voters overwhelming oppose increased fees on seniors' Medicare services, indicating that burdening beneficiaries with additional out-of-pocket expenses is not the preferred approach among Americans for reducing federal spending in Washington.  The survey results further indicate that charging seniors additional copayments for accessing Medicare services is among the least favored options for cutting Medicare costs.

Among registered voters, 75 percent of respondents disapprove of making seniors pay higher fees for their Medicare services as a means to reduce federal spending.

In addition, whereas 34 percent of respondents most favored requiring prescription drug manufacturers to pay the government a rebate, 30 percent most favored raising the Medicare eligibility rate to 67, and 22 percent most favored charging higher Medicare premiums for high-income seniors, only 4 percent most favored charging seniors an additional copayment of up to one hundred fifty dollars to receive care.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Nearly half (46%) of Americans think that charging seniors an additional copayment on Medicare services should be avoided at all costs.  This view was shared by the largest subgroup of the poll's respondents on this question.
  • 59 percent of respondents feel that higher fees on seniors will disproportionately hurt poor and minority senior citizens.  Only 17 percent viewed higher fees as reducing the cost of Medicare that taxpayers bear.

"As leaders in Washington work to avoid the 'fiscal cliff' and look for deficit reduction solutions, this new data reveals how strongly American voters reject imposing additional financial burdens on Medicare beneficiaries," stated Senator John Breaux, senior counsel to the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare.  "While difficult decisions must be made in the weeks ahead, lawmakers must make every effort to protect innocent seniors from policies that could potentially limit their access to necessary healthcare."

The new survey, conducted for the Partnership December 5-7, surveyed 1000 registered voters (RVs), and has an error margin of ±5.6 percent. The national RV sample is 39 percent Democrat, 35 percent Republican and 26 percent Independent. Among the key questions and results:

Do you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove or strongly disapprove making seniors pay higher fees for their Medicare services as a means to reduce federal spending?

Strongly approve   

10%

Somewhat approve    

10%

Somewhat disapprove    

21%

Strongly disapprove          

54%

Not sure                                 

5%

"The fact that a bipartisan national survey finds 75 percent percent of Democrats, 77 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Independents are in opposition to making seniors pay higher fees for their Medicare services is information that needs to be known on Capitol Hill," added Chairman Billy Tauzin, senior counsel to the Partnership.  "Americans – no matter what their political leaning – recognize that copays are not the answer our country needs."

A recent analysis of how a home healthcare copayment would impact beneficiaries, completed by the Partnership and including analytics by Avalere Health, indicates that copayments on the Medicare home health benefit could lead to an increase in the number of patients who waive routine care and end up with more expensive health issues as a result.

"An important fact in this debate is that there once was a home health copayment – until Congress wisely repealed it in 1972," noted Chairman Tauzin.  "Eliminating the copayment saved Medicare from having to bear the cost of the additional hospitalizations, so it would be wrong to re-impose a copayment at the very time we need to reduce Medicare's overall costs."

Nearly 3.5 million Americans nationwide currently receive Medicare home healthcare services for illnesses related to acute, chronic or rehabilitative needs. Data show skilled home healthcare is a clinically advanced, cost-effective and patient preferred option for American seniors.

All questions and results are available at www.homehealth4america.org.

The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare was established in 2010 to assist government officials in ensuring access to quality home health services for all Americans. Representing more than 1,500 skilled home healthcare agencies nationwide, the Partnership is dedicated to developing innovative reforms to improve the quality, efficiency and integrity of home healthcare for seniors and disabled Americans. To learn more, visit www.homehealth4america.org and join the home health policy conversation on Facebook, Twitter and our blog

SOURCE Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare




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