Poll: GOP More Trusted with Medicare Than Dems By Older Likely Voters

Matt Vespa
By Matt Vespa | February 26, 2014 | 12:40 PM EST

Another damning poll against the Obama administration was released today that show the tables have turned for Democrats on the issue of Medicare. The Morning Consult's new poll of 65+ year-old likely voters, conducted by Survey Sampling International, reveals that Republicans are now the more trusted political party to handle this entitlement program than Democrats by 53%-47%.

This included 51% of female likely voters who agreed that the GOP is more trusted on this issue. Additionally, 58% of these older  voters disapprove of the president's new health care law.

When it comes to Obamacare's impact on Medicare, it hardly gets better for the Democrats, or for President Obama.

To make matters worse, a plurality of Americans - or 48% - would blame Democrats if they "lost access to medical providers such as your preferred doctors or hospitals in traditional Medicare." And, 57% of voters would blame Obama if they lost access to their providers in Medicare.

Additionally, 71% of these likely voters said "losing access to providers" will be one of the most important issues come November.

As reported by Kasier Health News and the New York Daily News last year, access to doctors is already being limited by Obamacare.

Via NY Daily News:

Due to reductions in funding under the law, the Medicare Advantage programs, in which Medicare provides money for private insurers to cover seniors, have quietly started to cancel the contracts of providers to save money.

Although there was much attention last week to the fact that many health insurance plans purchased on the individual market will be cancelled under Obamacare, the havoc it is wrecking on Medicare Advantage patients and their providers has been barely noticed.

Yet this is exactly what critics of the program have warned, even as its slavish defenders vehemently denied any coming ill effects.

Via Kaiser Health News:

UnitedHealthcare [the largest Medicare Advantage insurer in the country] has begun telling members about the network changes. But there is now less than two weeks before the Dec. 7deadline for choosing new coverage next year. Timing is crucial since once they sign up, most Advantage beneficiaries are locked into their plans for the year.  Losing a doctor does not constitute an exception to the rule. Insurers can drop providers any time with 30 days advance notice to members.

Several medical associations are encouraging doctors to appeal the cancellations, which could make it more difficult for seniors to choose a plan in the time remaining.  Neither Medicare, which oversees the Advantage plans, nor UnitedHealthcare would disclose how many providers will be dropped.

The American Medical Association and 39 state affiliates along with 42 medical specialty and patient advocacy groups have urged Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner to extend the enrollment deadline and require insurers to reinstate the doctors for another year. Medicare has told the Connecticut attorney general that it will not postpone the deadline.