A resounding 75% of AARP members polled in a survey conducted yesterday said that the proposed Medicare legislation should be passed because it will help low-income elderly and those with high prescription drug costs. Among middle and high income individuals, 80% were in favor of passing the legislation for this reason, and support for the bill was high among both Democrats and Republicans.
When those AARP members polled were asked whether they supported or opposed the plan, eighty-three percent supported it, and only seventeen percent were in opposition. Again, Democrats and Republicans displayed little difference in their support for the plan.
When members were asked whether the benefit would help, or hurt them personally, thirty percent said they would be helped by the benefit while just thirteen percent said they would be hurt. Thirty-three percent said it would have no effect. Twenty-four percent did not know or were not sure. These findings regarding the impact of the bill are not surprising given the complexity of the legislation and the uncertainty surrounding its final form.
Before hearing the detailed description of the plan in the poll, fifty percent of those polled said they had read, seen or heard a fair amount or a great deal about the ongoing debate in the Congress. Only 2% of those polled were very familiar with the specifics of the plan, and nearly one-third (35%) were somewhat familiar. More than half of those polled, sixty-two percent were not very familiar, or not familiar at all with the specifics of the legislation.
The lack of awareness found in this poll underscores the strong need for a large and meaningful educational effort regarding the specifics of the legislation in order for people to make informed decisions about this legislation. AARP is committed to continuing to educate its members and the American public.
This poll was conducted November 19-20th among a nationally representative sample of 494 AARP members by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, Ca. The sampling margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
See full survey (free Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view file).
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to making life better for people 50 and over. We provide information and resources; engage in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy; assist members in serving their communities; and offer a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members. These include AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our quarterly publication for Hispanic members; NRTA Live and Learn for National Retired Teachers Association members; and our Web site, www.aarp.org. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.