Written by: Senior Living Research Team | Published: February 13, 2023
Since Republicans won back control of the House of Representatives, frequent partisan bickering has broken out among elected officials over the future of Social Security and Medicare. Democrats have accused Republicans of wanting to gut the programs entirely, which they deny. However, Republicans say it is irresponsible not to address Social Security’s future insolvency.
The recent conflict over Social Security and Medicare reached a boiling point at the 2023 State of the Union address. In his speech, President Biden said, “Some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” which drew boos and shouts of dissent from members of Congress.
While political leaders may be divided over Social Security, our research shows that regular Americans are not. We talked to over 1,000 Americans about the future of Medicare and Social Security and found unusual unity across political and generational divides.
Here’s what else we discovered:
Our research confirmed two things: seniors rely on Social Security, and Americans don’t want to leave them hanging. While Americans want both Social Security and Medicare to stick around, it will get harder and harder to fund the programs in their current form. If the current trend holds, Social Security trust funds will run out around 2034, so reform is needed critically.
There will be a robust debate over the years to decide what this deal will look like. Since the country seems determined not to abandon the program, reforms will likely feature higher taxes, skinnier benefits, or some combination of the two.
We conducted an internet-based poll in English of 1,010 Americans. 508 were aged 62 or older, and 502 were between 18-61. 57 percent leaned Democrat, 24 percent leaned Republican, and 20 percent favored neither party or identified as independent. 503 respondents were women, 499 were men, and eight were of another gender. 61 percent of respondents aged 62 or older were currently receiving Social Security retirement income. 56 percent of individuals aged 65 or older were enrolled in Medicare at the time of the study.