WASHINGTON – American voters may be concerned about government spending, but they don’t want federal budget negotiators to cut payments to hospitals, a new poll indicates.
Nearly seven in 10 registered voters said they oppose reductions in what the government Medicare and Medicaid health insurance programs pay hospitals, the survey found. Two-thirds believe that such cuts would harm access to healthcare.
“This is simply not a direction that is popular with the public,” said Public Opinion Strategies co-founder Bill McInturff, a veteran Washington pollster who conducted the survey for the American Hospital Assn. McInturff said other polling he has done on public attitudes of options for reining in deficits indicates that hospital cuts are the least popular, a feeling shared by Republican and Democratic voters.
Trimming what Medicare and Medicaid pay hospitals has been an oft-used strategy embraced by both political parties to control spending, in part because the two programs cost hundreds of billions of dollars annually.