Dems: Public Was Divided on Medicare, Too

Leadership circulates '60s poll numbers to reassure members
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2010 5:43 PM CDT
April Stoltz, 54, from Lakewood, Ohio protests for health care reform in front of the offices of Medical Mutual Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009, in Cleveland.   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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(Newser) – Democratic leaders hope the example of Medicare will strengthen their colleagues' resolve in the fight for health care reform. Aides have been circulating poll numbers from 1962 that showed a public deeply divided on the Medicare proposal, with 28% in favor, 24% against, and 33% with no opinion, writes Greg Sargent. Other polls showed a 54% agreeing with the statement that “government medical insurance for the aged would be a big step toward socialized medicine.” Sound familiar?

Half a century later, of course, Medicare is popular—a thought that the Democratic leadership wants to communicate to the rank and file, Sargent writes at Plum Line. But congressional Democrats may not be reassured. Polls show that Medicare's popularity was slow to catch on: a year after its passage, only 46% supported the policy. And the view of health care reform in 50 years may not mean much to vulnerable Democrats in 2010.

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