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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Harvard Analysis Shows Gap between Experts and Public on Need to Cut Medicare Spending

As debate over the national debt and the federal budget deficit begins to heat up again, an analysis of national polls conducted in 2013 shows that, compared with recent government reports prepared by experts, the public has different views about the need to reduce future Medicare spending to deal with the federal budget deficit. Many experts believe that future Medicare spending will have to be reduced in order to lower the federal budget deficit, but polls show little support (10 percent to 36 percent) for major reductions in Medicare spending for this purpose. In fact, many Americans feel so strongly that they say they would vote against candidates who favor such reductions. Many experts see Medicare as a major contributor to the federal budget deficit today, but only about one-third (31 percent) of the public agrees. This analysis appears as a Special Report in the September 12, 2013, issue of New England Journal of Medicine.