Seniors Not Warming to Obamacare

June 24th, 2010 at 2:54 pm | 14 Comments |

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If Republicans win big in November, don’t thank the Tea Party. The elderly and independents dislike the president’s healthcare bill. Their opposition to the President’s signature legislative achievement will go a long way in explaining any success that Republicans might have come election day.

A new Gallup/USA Today poll show that the country is still deeply divided over the bill. Gallup finds that 49% of Americans think the healthcare bill is a good thing, while 46% say it’s a bad thing. For the president, this marks a small improvement from Gallup’s previous two polls, both of which found a majority of Americans having a negative view of the bill. But one thing has not changed: old people hate the healthcare bill. This fact more than any other explains why the GOP should succeed come November.

The poll finds that an overwhelming 60% of “seniors” aged 65 and older think the healthcare bill a bad thing. This figure is offset in the polling by middle aged and younger Americans, who tend to feel more positively about this legislation. But while the 20 to 50-somethings inclined to approve of Obamacare might offset the impact that disgruntled seniors have on a tracking poll, they certainly won’t show up in large enough numbers in November to mitigate the impact that the scores of elderly voters will have on Democratic candidates. Old people vote, young people typically don’t. And as the poll numbers show, the elderly are none too pleased with the president and the Democrats.

Senior citizens were widely opposed to the bill from the start. It’s not hard to figure out why. More than any other group, the elderly tended to be insured; and more than any other group, the elderly were satisfied with the cost of healthcare in the days before the president signed his health reform bill. A July 22, 2009 Gallup poll found that the demographic least likely to be without insurance was Americans 65 and older (only 3.6% reported being without health coverage). This of course makes sense: if you are over 65, you are eligible to receive Medicare benefits. And the group wasn’t just covered…they were also disproportionately satisfied with the cost of their healthcare. The elderly were satisfied with both the quality and cost of their government provided healthcare. Another Gallup survey, this one conducted on September 23rd of last year, found that 79% of recipients of either Medicaid or Medicare were satisfied with their healthcare costs.

The new poll also notes that independents, whose move to the left played a large role in putting the Democrats in charge in 2008, frown upon the new healthcare bill by an 8 point margin (51% to 43%). Gallup notes that this number is virtually identical to its April survey, meaning that independents are not warming up to the president’s bill.

With the elderly seeking revenge and independents finding little to like about the president’s signature issue, it is hard to imagine Democrats doing anything but losing big come November.

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14 Comments so far ↓

  • TerryF98

    Then they are ignorant because they are the very group that are benefitting first.

    The doughnut hole created by Bush with his unfunded budget breaking deficit enhancing medicare part D was closed by the bill.

  • Rob_654

    I for one am tired of carrying these old people on my financial back. I say we take the Far Right – Tea Party beliefs and implement them for real – scrap Medicare – and lets get the old folks off of the Government Wagon and get them out of the Horrible Government Medicare System.

    Once they are out from under the government’s medical tyranny they will be able to enter the Free Market and purchase medical insurance so that they can experience the freedom and benefits of the Free Market Health Insurance system!!!

    And then cut my taxes so I am not paying for these old folks medical bills!!!

  • dante

    So let me get this straight: Old people hate Socialized Medicine but love their Medicare.

    Yup, just another case of “I’ve got mine, so f*** you” that’s all too prevalent in America today.

  • Chris

    The money quote:

    “The elderly were satisfied with both the quality and cost of their government provided healthcare. Another Gallup survey, this one conducted on September 23rd of last year, found that 79% of recipients of either Medicaid or Medicare were satisfied with their healthcare costs.”

    Yep, that about sums it up.

  • LFC

    Dante takes the ball, drives … SCORE! 100% spot on.

  • anniemargret

    Hate to say this, but the majority of ‘seniors’ don’t have a clue what they have, or what they don’t have. Too many did not even know Medicare is a socialized program. The ones that watch Fox News think Obama is at fault for their rising insurance rates. sigh.

    Few are educated on this subject and it is why the right wing courted the ‘death panels’ business to the nines. Seniors are scared of change- rightly- and they need truth on their side.

    I don’t mind ‘carrying them on my financial back’ because someday I too will be old and sick.

  • easton

    Hilarious. Chris, Dante, Rob, etc. all beat me to it. This is something the Obama can tout.
    And lets face it, the elderly in large part are afraid of the bill because Republicans were running around screaming “Death panels” and “Government cuts to Medicare” like the billion dollar debt financed giveaway to big Pharm.

    And if this is the Republican hope, that the elderly are their future, they are in even worse shape than I thought. After Obamacare becomes the norm in the future, the newly old will no longer be afraid of Obamacare since they would have lived under it and benefitted from it, so for the GOP even the old are not their future.

    Thanks Frumforum, this article made my day.

  • Smarg

    Odumbo’s massive healthcare welfare spendathon will be reversed in January 2011.

  • medinnus

    “Odumbo’s massive healthcare welfare spendathon will be reversed in January 2011.”

    “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
    Macbeth, Act 5 Scene 5

  • florishes

    There seems to be a generational aspect in play here also –

    Many elders see America changing in what they may consider socially unacceptable ways. In the mind’s eye of some, the complexion of the nation, as befits their view of tradition and heritage, is personified by Mr. President and the growth of the Latin-American population. White and Might and Right…they want their country back…the country is going in the wrong direction (forward not backward).

    If elders want repeal of policies that directly benefit them, then the antipathy for anything Obama is indeed a derangement syndrome.

  • Tinkertom

    In our youthful eagerness to blame the elderly for being greedy we are overlooking two facts:
    1. That group of Americans were not asked if they wanted Medicare, they had no vote, their money was confiscated from their paychecks every payday of their working life in an amount determined by Washington. Maybe it was too little, but that was not thier call.
    2. The supreme court has ruled that those payments were not taxes, they were premiums on insurance as the name Medicare Insurance correctly states it. So what? So an insurance contract is a contract with defined benefits paid for in the amount determined by the insurer and that insurer has to fulfil his contract at payup time. Taxes are taken by the government with no promise to do anything and can be spent as our “elected representatives” decide with no apologies. The fact that it is a socialist contract forced on us against our will does not relieve the insurers from delivering healthcare as promised. If they made a bad deal that is as unfortunate for the government as it is for any other “business”. The left should not have tried to run a business if they didn’t know what they were doing, and they obviously don’t.
    3. The fact that the elderly are ready to kill Obamacare even though it may in the left’s view be depriving themselves of increased benefits shows that they are willing to put their money where their beliefs are. They do not believe the trail of candies lead to Big Rock Candy Mountain, they are experienced enough and old enough to know that, as it said in the front of the original Whole Earth Catalog “There is no such thing as a free lunch. The Yuppie generation was not as dumb as the left of today seems to think they are.

  • Rabiner


    Point by point critique of your comment.

    1. Yes they had a vote. I’m sure senior citizens were of voting age in 1965.
    2. You really need to stop with the bull shit saying ‘against our will’. Medicare is very popular. And government should change the terms of the ‘contract’ you speak of if it is unsustainable.
    3. It isn’t their money Tinkerton. Medicare recipients get three times the resources from Medicare than they paid into it through taxes over the course of their lifetime. Seems like a change in required to take this into account. And yes, the ‘Yuppie’ Generation is pretty dumb when it comes to governmental policy if they’re arguing “No socialist medicine, keep away from my Medicare”. Sounds pretty dumb to me and to many other intelligent individuals who see the hypocrisy in the statement. Medicare based on their payouts are about as “Free a Lunch” any senior citizen will ever get.

  • Demosthenes

    Why is this newsworthy? Seniors will oppose anything that could impact their healthcare. While HCR doesn’t do that, I know many seniors who, based upon Fox “News” and talk radio, believe this canard.

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