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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 11:57 AM ET, 07/29/2010

Seniors see negatives for Medicare in health care law

A new poll out Thursday from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that senior citizens remain more negative than younger adults toward the health care overhaul passed earlier this year and are more apt to say that the bill will have a negative effect on Medicare and those in their age group.

The poll, conducted July 8-13, finds unfavorable views of the new law easing among all adults, dropping from 41 percent in June to 35 percent in the new survey, though with deeply unfavorable views holding steady at 25 percent.

Seniors have long been more negative than younger adults toward the changes, and the new poll takes a deeper look at the reasons behind their opposition to the bill. A majority (52 percent) of seniors describe themselves as "disappointed" about the bill; 45 percent say they are "confused" by it and 42 percent are "anxious."

The poll suggests that older Americans' negative feelings about the bill may rest on perceptions that it will make it more difficult and expensive for those on Medicare to access health care. More than three-quarters of those age 65 and over who hold negative views of the new law say it will weaken the Medicare system and its financial backing, make it harder for those on Medicare to find a doctor who is willing to see them or to get needed health care, and increase out of pocket costs for seniors.

Among all seniors, nearly half (48 percent) say the new law will make those age 65 or over in general worse off, but fewer (35 percent) think it will negatively impact themselves or their families.

The survey includes interviews with 1,504 randomly selected adults, including 406 age 65 or over. The margin of sampling error for results from the full survey is plus or minus three percentage points, it is four points for senior citizens.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  11:57 AM ET, 07/29/2010

Categories:  Health care

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