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Death panels worked! Seniors now key to shifting opinion on health reform

Ezra Klein highlights some new Gallup polling that shows that health reform is becoming popular among every group but seniors, who still are deeply suspicious of it:

agechart.JPG

As you can see, a big majority, 60 percent, of people 65 and older see the passage of reform as a "bad thing," versus only 36 percent who see it as a good thing. Meanwhile, a majority or plurality of every other age group favors it.

It's worth recalling that seniors were the primary target of the right's campaign against health care. Seniors were relentlessly bombarded seniors with a nonstop stream of terrifying imagery for a full year. Death panels, pull the plug on granny, keep your government hands off of our Medicare -- it was all directed at seniors.

And it seems to have worked. The result is that seniors are the primary battleground right now in the war over whether public opinion over reform can be shifted in time for the midterms. That's why Obama administration officials are working hard to change seniors' minds about reform with mailers about Medicare and a recent tele-town-hall with seniors hosted by Obama himself.

The irony is that seniors, of course, already benefit from government-run health care. Yet seniors are the age group most skeptical of Obama, and White House officials privately acknowledge that seniors will be the toughest group to re-educate about the virtues of reform, which explains their redoubled efforts in this department. This will be a key dynamic to watch.

By Greg Sargent  |  June 23, 2010; 11:58 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Health reform  
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Comments

Greg,

Sharron Obtuse Angle wants to get rid of Medicare, and Social Security. She has the backing of lots of Right Wingers, including Grizzly Palin.


Looks to me like The Republicans are the ones who are pushing for changes that would Kill All Our Grannies.

Sh

Posted by: Liam-still | June 23, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

This poll shows why polls with "yes/no - approve/disapprove" answers don't do justice to the question. A second question should have been "do you approve/disapprove of social security..." those answers would have been very telling.

Posted by: rlj1 | June 23, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"It's worth recalling that seniors were the primary target of the right's campaign against health care"

Seriously. Anyone who would so blatantly and intentionally misinform SENIOR CITIZENS is just a sad, disgusting person (Chuck Grassley, Sarah Palin, the entire Republican Party).

This is an out-and-out DISGRACE.

Shame on the GOP. Shame.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 23, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Many seniors believe that extending coverage to the uninsured can only come with a reduction in coverage for themselves. Of course the big cost savings in Medicare would come in more sensible, humane end-of-life care, but that discussion is precisley what the GOP's dishonest scare campaign over death panels made impossible, at least for awhile.

Seniors, ironically, are one of the few groups to actually benefit this year in that those who had hit the "donut hole" in prescription drug coverage got a bonus this year. But many are afraid of losing some if the perks in the subsidized Medicare Advantage plans.

Posted by: Mimikatz | June 23, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Btw, thanks for this article Greg. Good choices on topics today between this and Barton. Well done, thanks.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 23, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

For those who fail to click:

"The 49% of Americans who today say passage of healthcare reform was a good thing, compared with 46% calling it a bad thing, is a bit more positive than the two prior readings... However, the four percentage-point increase since April in favorability toward the law... is not statistically significant.

"...Independents lean against the bill by an eight-point margin, 51% to 43%, largely unchanged from April... it is noteworthy that support among independents has not grown."

Posted by: sbj3 | June 23, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The same poll has repeal the law at 50% keep it at 45%. Republicans don't like it 74% oppose and 55% of independent don't like it either. But whatever makes you feel better.

Posted by: obrier2 | June 23, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

sbj, obrier, neither of those points is relevant to the post, which is not arguing that reform is overwhelmingly popular, but rather is arguing that the reform law's unpopularity is driven by the lopsided numbers among seniors.

And thanks, Ethan.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 23, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Sharron Angle wants to Kill All Our Grannies, and The Republican Party backs her all the way.

The Republican Party fully backed letting the Private Insurance Cabal continue to drop sick people, or people who just might get sick.

Those were The Real Death Panels, and The Republicans Want To Restore Them.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 23, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Greg, Have those donut checks started reaching the seniors ?

sbj - If you do not know anything about MOE's, best to keep your mouth shut.

Posted by: amkeew | June 23, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "sbj, obrier, neither of those points is relevant to the post."

What are you, the relevance police?

Crazy, easily manipulated seniors - just don't know what's good for 'em. I guess wisdom does not come with age (take note Liam!) - so it's all downhill from here.

Posted by: sbj3 | June 23, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

amk: I believe the checks are supposed to mail on July 1. (My parents have not received theirs yet.)

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 23, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks sue. How do your parents feel about HIR ?

Posted by: amkeew | June 23, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/06/barton-keeps-ranking-seat-unapologizes-bp-apology

Ahem, seems we need a new Barton update LOL

Man twitter really IS the devil!

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | June 23, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Not for nothin' but seniors tend to be pretty slow to warm to *any* sort of change. For most folks, the older you get the deeper the ruts that your thinking patterns and world views tend to run in become. And let's face it, a lot of people don't actually start out all that agile in that department to begin with.

That's probably a big part of the reason why the pace of *lasting* change tends to be more evolutionary than revolutionary. It's also why any step in the right direction is a step worth taking, even if it ends up being a much smaller step than you'd like to see -- which is pretty much always going to be the case for the more idealistic among us, given the above.

Posted by: CalD | June 23, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

No checks yet. What help is $250? Not many prescriptions!

DEATH PANELs are alive and well!! The dealth panels were in the stiumulus bill of 2/09 - not the regular healthscam bill. I have been in the hospital 2 times this year!! It is a HUGE wonder that I am still alive!!

Senior pay alot for our Medicare and supplemental insurance. Congress HAS NOT restored any fees to doctors. Congress promised to do this.

If you think you are going to get something in 2013, THINK AGAIN. We may be a third world country by 2013!! BO is working hard to put us down!!!!

Posted by: annnort | June 23, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"We may be a third world country by 2013!"

PLEASE THINK before posting something so obviously ludicrous. That you are a senior is no excuse for posting incoherent drivel.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 23, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"Senior pay alot for our Medicare and supplemental insurance."

Um, 80% of "your Medicare" is paid for by payroll taxes and general governmental revenues.

http://facts.kff.org/chart.aspx?ch=380

So, actually, WE pay a lot for your Medicare and supplemental insurance.

Which is fine with me, but I'm a Democrat and I've got this crazy idea we should take care of sick people.

Posted by: theorajones1 | June 23, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Seniors want to live for ever, so they run up huge medical bills during their last year of life. They are the big problem. They are so selfish, that even at the age of ninety or more, they think nothing about running up hundreds of thousands of dollars on health care costs, that have to be paid by Medicare.

If the very elderly really cared about not burdening their grand children, and great grand children, with large government health care deficits, they would stop being so selfish, when it comes time to let go.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 23, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"How do your parents feel about HIR ?"

Well, my dad is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, so he doesn't really follow the news much these days. My mother has mixed feelings. She was just infuriated about the "death panel" stuff because she sees the need for seniors to be able to consult with doctors about end of life planning. They have their stuff in order, signed, notarized, etc., but know a lot of their friends and acquaintances who are just avoiding it.

She also thought the public option was a good idea, partly because my one sister has had trouble getting insurance...self-employed with an on-going treatable condition.


Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 23, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

annnort - Is this a new troll or the regulars know it ?

Posted by: amkeew | June 23, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks sue. Sorry about your dad. Yes, it's a pity the PO was killed.

Posted by: amkeew | June 23, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"seniors tend to be pretty slow to warm to *any* sort of change. For most folks, the older you get the deeper the ruts that your thinking patterns and world views tend to run in become."

Yeah, a lot of truth to this. I know my mother was shocked to learn that a lot of people don't get insurance through work anymore. She kinda assumed that if you had a full-time job, you had insurance.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 23, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

MSNBC reporting that McChrystal is OUT

Posted by: cmccauley60 | June 23, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

A lot of Seniors and soon to be Seniors (full disclosure, I'm one of the soon to be) got hit pretty hard by the recession, 401k's, property values, loss of jobs, etc. In some cases their Medicare and SS are either the only thing keeping them going or the only thing to look forward to. I'd say it's safe to say they may not trust anyone right now.

I'm hoping they'll realize before November that the Repubs do not have their best interests in their headlights. We had a dinner party a couple of weeks ago, all 60 somethings and I was shocked at some of the mis-information being repeated. I tried my best to counter as much as I could until I could see I was just exasperating everyone so I made nice. Stubbornness is another quality us Seniors share.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 23, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

mac boy out. Petraeus in.

Posted by: amkeew | June 23, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

amk, maybe that's why he (Petraeus) fainted a week ago.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 23, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

lms - LOL. He had a pre-existing condition of premonition ?

Posted by: amkeew | June 23, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"... seniors will be the toughest group to re-educate ..."

I'm sure they (we?) would all happily atend gummint-run re-education "camps" -- as long as they had slot machines!

Posted by: jzap | June 23, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Or black jack tables, LOL.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 23, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Greg, and Liam-still ~ the Obamistas already missed the boat on the legislative patch being used to keep reimbursement for Medicaid patients up to snuff ~ and as a result there are doctors all over the country dropping the elderly from care.

That's not the sort of thing that's going to make the elderly think positively about the evil Democrat apparatchiks who really are trying to kill me and steal all my money.

Or, about you guys who laugh and joke and say "Hey, grandpa, that's not happening. So they don't actually pay your doctor. So what. You're gonna' die anyway someday".

Yup, that will happen. But that doesn't mean someone less public spirited than I might well take some of you young pukes with her.!

You people will learn you can never be to careful who you turn your back on and who you laugh at.

Fur Shur.

Posted by: muawiyah | June 23, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I see you couldn't stay away Bilgey.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 23, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

I hate to think this way, but since seniors already have their big government health care program, maybe they just resent the younger folks getting some, too. Gee, maybe they'd have to pitch in a dime or something...

Posted by: martha6 | June 24, 2010 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Re: several comments:

"Republicans don't like it 74% oppose and 55% of independent don't like it either".

Yet few of these people are able to articulate just what it is that they don't like. Any just as sad, few of them have ever read a single word of the actual bill.

" ...wisdom does not come with age".

This was meant as snark, but yet it is true. What kind of person with even two working brain cells would believe that the death panel garbage? Come on people, somewgere some of these people have to have a smigen of commen sense.

" Congress HAS NOT restored any fees to doctors".

Unless you have been living on Mars you know who has been obstructing the restorations of fees to doctors. Or maybe you don't have even two brain cells that communicate with each other.

Posted by: Sammy2 | June 24, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

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