Poll: Medicare should be for everyone

The cover of a booklet provided at an informational meeting on the Medicare drug prescription program in Sun City, Ariz.

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: There's a new poll that shows a majority of Americans believe Medicare, the government-funded health plan for the elderly and disabled, should be expanded to include everyone. Danielle Karson has more.


Danielle Karson: The survey by marketing group Caravan found that 6 out of 10 Americans favor giving anyone the option of signing up with Medicare.

Jaime Court: That shows the president there's strong popular support for an ambitious public option to the private market as he's developing his health care plan.

Jamie Court heads up Consumer Watchdog, which commissioned the survey. He says the findings are timely.

Kathy Cassidy from Raleigh, North Carolina, sees families in her kids' school cutting back on health care as the recession deepens.

Kathy Cassidy: I think the whole idea of widening the safety net a little bit is very important. I think a lot more people now really do now need that extra help.

In fact, the survey found that 55 percent of Americans are willing to pay more taxes for Medicare coverage.

But not everyone likes the idea of a national health plan. Kim Larson used to live in New Brunswick, Canada. She says there, doctors' visits were a constant exercise in waiting.

Kim Larson: My sister waited several months to see what is considered a specialist, which was really just an ob/gyn. And my grandfather had a stroke and he waited for two hours before a doctor saw him.

A Congressional Budget Office study says that if younger, healthier people sign up with Medicare, that will drive down costs and could save a trillion dollars over 10 years.

In Washington, I'm Danielle Karson for Marketplace.

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