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New Study Shows That American Public is Willing to Accept Major Reforms in Medicare Program
Date:12/29/2009

edly expressed concerns over what they saw as a Byzantine and unaccountable health care system," the Medicare report says. "Most felt that the medical industry (especially the pharmaceutical companies) puts profits before people."

Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition, says the report shows that Americans are prepared to accept significant changes in the program that plays a central role in the federal government's long-term fiscal problems.

"Medicare is on an unsustainable path and must be reformed," Bixby said. "According to conventional wisdom, however, the public is not ready to accept any change in the status quo. The good news from these Choice-Dialogues is that the conventional wisdom is wrong; the public is ready and willing to consider some very fundamental Medicare reforms so long as the program is preserved as a vital part of the social contract."

"Politicians who are truly interested in saving Medicare should stop the scare tactics and start engaging the public in a dialogue on the real trade-offs that must be confronted," Bixby added. "Changes will still be difficult, but the results will be more acceptable."

Viewpoint Learning conducted the dialogues with randomly selected representative samples of 35-40 citizens in Oak Brook, Illinois; Columbia Maryland; Phoenix and Houston. This project builds on the findings of a broader two-year project, "The America We Want," that examined public opinion on a broader range of federal programs and budget issues.

The new report found that many Americans lacked a strong understanding of the Medicare program, how it is funded, and the severity of the fiscal challenges facing the United States in the years ahead.

Yet most participants in the dialogues, after studying these issues in depth and spending much of a day discussing the problems and possible solutions with others, were able to agree on a set of Medicare changes.


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SOURCE The Concord Coalition
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