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High Public Doubt Soc. Sec. & Medicare Will Provide

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.

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.

How confident are you in...

Social Security




By Jon Cohen  |  February 23, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Post Polls  
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For years and years, I have heard that social security will not be there for retirees. Bull! It is a pay-as-you-go system. If more funds are needed, Washington should tax the entire earned income instead of having a cap.

Posted by: marine2211 | February 23, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I agree with marine2211. Remove the cap.

Furthermore, Social Security has been RAIDED by the Federal government for umpteen years (40? 50?).

It's time for PAYBACKS, not cutbacks.

Posted by: dotellen | February 23, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Once again we get a skewed result when a pollster lumps all other age groups from 18 to 64 into one group. I suspect that many of the age group from 60 to 64 would have more confidence in the system. Removing them from the larger group would probably show even less confidence in SS and Medicare for the 18-50 year age group.

The reason that older people have more confidence is that groups like AARP lobby very effectively for this group and the younger age groups dont lobby nearly as much. Try to cut benefits for people who are close to receiving them or already get them!!

Posted by: dave1011 | February 23, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

No one can feel confident about anything as long as there is one rightwingnut around. That's all it takes, along with the MSM, to rouse the rabble against anything at all, whether it would benefit them or not.

Posted by: Ami_Blue1 | February 23, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm confident that, if cared for, those systems will care of us. SS is pay as you go -- and Medicaid and Medicare could be like the rest of the industrialized world, bringing economies of scale to the cost of goods, and opening up access to service for millions.

What I have no faith in is the ability for public servants to continue to serve the public and not be swayed or limited by private influence set against keeping this foundation in place.

Posted by: mjb_ | February 23, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The poll shows the effects of incompetent reporting, like Ceci Connelly (she of the hate Al Gore brigade) from this past saturday.
She wrote that the system will be bankrupt in 2041.
Oh, not so.

Posted by: edlharris | February 23, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Some things are not a matter of opinion.

The headline should be
"High Public Misunderstanding of Hugely Important Federal Program: Has News Media Failed To Prevent Misinformation's Spread?"

Posted by: zukermand | February 23, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm four years from retirement, been working since I was fifteen and paying into SS and Medicare. My Retirement was nearly wiped out in the past several years, my house value has dropped and now they say they will not be able to send me a SS check or provide Medicare when I retire. What the hell do they expect the elderly to do, drop dead?? The Government is the reason it's going broke, they raped it for every program they wanted and to hell with the elderly. I say the Elderly need to rise up and tell the govt. just send me a check for all the money you've collected from me over the past forty five years and we will call it square!

Posted by: sfilutze | February 23, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

In terms of Social Security, it's the best insurance/retirement program I know of.

On the insurance side, if hit with a disability during your working life you can be covered - but sometimes need to fight for it. Families are also covered if the "bread winner" dies.

While people moan about paying into the program the simple fact is that the average person will get more out in monthly payments than they paid in.

The key for long term Social Security success is to continue adjusting the income range for payment into the program. I also believe that we will begin to see support for bringing back in the SS tax at higher levels. That might end up with liabilities restarting at, say, $500,000 a year.

The future of Medicare is going to depend on how intelligently we move into a universal care environment.

The first step in protecting Medicare is to us that as the insurance program for all elected politicians in DC, and their staff and political appointments. Throw in a private supplemental program for gap coverage.

Step two would be to start adding other government employees into the program, with supplemental programs available.

Let these good folks depend on their health care through Medicare and they'll make sure the program remains sound!

Posted by: KHMJr | February 23, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

This poll is rediculous. To add 18 to 64 ages together is an insult to the 55 to 64 year olds. The ranges in the poll should be 18 to 50, 50 to 54 and 55 to 64 to be more correct. Also remember that Social Security will be solvent without extra federal dollars until 2041. Medicare/Medicaid should be together and are the real federal programs that in trouble. Gte your facts straight!!

Posted by: Had-Enough | February 23, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

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