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Few Americans 'Very Confident' in Social Security and Medicare

By Jon Cohen
Few Americans are "very confident" that Social Security and Medicare are in shape to provide benefits throughout their retirements, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, adding a lack of public trust to the problems today's White House summit must confront as it considers the country's future financial obligations.

Just 11 percent of those surveyed said they are sure Social Security will be able to pay their full benefits; when it comes to Medicare, just 8 percent who are very confident the system will provide adequate health care coverage. More are "somewhat confident," but even combined, confidence is the minority viewpoint about both programs.

How confident are you in...


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Medicare

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Senior citizens -- already covered by these bedrock federal programs -- are generally confident both will be able to meet their needs, but those not yet age-eligible are far less sanguine about their prospects. Among those aged 65 years and up, 78 percent are very or somewhat confident Social Security will last throughout their retirements and 67 percent are that confident in Medicare. Those numbers crash to 31 percent for both programs among those aged 18 to 64, and the proportions "very confident" among this group drops below one in 10.

While age is big dividing line on public confidence about the federal programs, concern about the deficit is not. Those who are worried about the current federal accounts imbalance are no more concerned about Social Security and Medicare than are those who are less anxious about the deficit.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 23, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Pollster  
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Comments

JakeD, you know as much about Medicare as you do about Social Security. "Medicare was given a temporary bandage at least" What are you referring to? Medicare Advantage? The managed care option of Medicare costs 13-17% more per beneficiary than the regular fee for service option of Medicare.

Obama knows that Medicare is the real crisis. He said so: "Social Security, we can solve," he said, waving his left hand. "The big problem is Medicare, which is unsustainable."
Wash. Post. Jan. 15, 2009.

Posted by: steveh46 | February 23, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Medicare was given a temporary bandage at least -- privatizing that (or Social Security) is NOT "killing" it -- perhaps you missed Obama talking about Social Scurity at his new "Fiscal Responsibility" Summit?

Posted by: JakeD | February 23, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

GWB tried to address SS by killing it. There is no Social Security crisis, but the Big Lie technique has worked and convinced many people there is one. Medicare, however, is in big trouble due to the problems with the whole US health care system.

Posted by: steveh46 | February 23, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

GWB tried to address Social Security, but Congress wouldn't allow it.

Posted by: JakeD | February 23, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

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