A USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll shows somewhat higher approval ratings for the Medicare bill than the ABC/Washington Post poll I cite directly below -- but it's still not good news for the Bush administration. USA Today reports:
A 52% majority of those surveyed said they favored the bill; 30% opposed it. Among those age 65 and older, support was lower: 46% in favor, 39% opposed.
* Eight in 10 said they were worried that the benefit doesn't provide enough help. A 56% majority of those 65 and older were very concerned about that.
* Nearly two-thirds expressed a conflicting fear ? that it will cost the government too much. But concerns about coverage trumped deficit fears. When asked whether excessive cost or inadequate coverage was their greater concern, 75% said coverage.
* Three-fourths were worried that the provisions are too complicated for seniors to understand. Among seniors, 84% were concerned about that.
A look at the poll numbers shows that only 15% of senior citizens think the bill will help them financially -- 21% think it will actually hurt them, and 58% think it will not have much effect.
Also, 73% of seniors (and 66% of all poll respondents) are concerned that the bill could force some Medicare recipients into HMOs.
And 59% of seniors think the bill will do more to help drug companies than to help recipients; 28% think the opposite.
I'm starting to suspect that you won't hear a word about this bill at the Republican convention next year -- it'll be a skeleton in the closet, right next to the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED photo op. Alas, unlike that photo op, it's the law, and it really seems like a big nothing with a huge price tag.