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Political Insiders Poll

Political Insiders Poll

Is it politically smart for House Republicans to support converting Medicare into a voucher system?

Democrats (103 votes)

Yes: 6%
No: 93%
Unsure (volunteered): 1%



“It is politically smart to be realistic about the debt crisis we face, and it starts with Medicare.”

“A fight on this issue could further the public’s attention span and allow a little reality to seep in.”



“Voters on it do not like big change.”

“While it might be smart with the base, independents will see this as large Medicare cuts.”

“Starting a ‘new’ system for Medicare after repealing health care is politically dumb.”


“Whether Republicans like it or not, Medicare is a popular program.”

“The Republicans should know better than anyone that wholesale change to health care delivery and payment is politically powerful and dangerous.”

“People are open to some reforms to entitlement programs, but going for the whole apple means getting nothing.”

“Attempts to reimagine or retool in significant ways fuels fears of jeopardizing something bigger than the benefits themselves: retirement security.”

“Politically, people are experiencing change fatigue.”

“Only if they want to write off Florida in 2012.”

“Democrats are salivating at the possibility of the GOP pushing a plan to turn Medicare into a private-voucher scheme. If Republicans move forward with this voucher plan along with raising the eligibility age, watch how quickly Democrats’ numbers with seniors rebound.”

“Seniors don’t like politicians experimenting with their health care.”

“The message is simple: For seniors, Democrats have staked out Medicare, and the Republicans have staked out ‘we don’t care.’ ”

“Remember the refrain from heath reform, ‘Keep the government out of my Medicare?’ That has not changed.”

“Make my day!”

“Republicans have been masterful at ‘muddying the waters’ with Democrats when it comes to a commitment to Medicare. Supporting a voucher system would be a definitive departure from that commitment, and [it] will be hard for them to hide from it.”


Is it politically smart for House Republicans to support converting Medicare into a voucher system?

Republicans (103 votes)

Yes: 33%
No: 61%
Unsure (volunteered): 6%


“Is it risky? Yes. But the GOP needs to start offering new solutions to these old problems.”

“At no point in the last 50 years has there been more appetite for change. People understand these programs are unsustainable.”

“Now is the time to press for fiscal austerity and reform on Medicare, and frame those reforms as designed to help those who need it the most.”

“As long as seniors perceive they have real ‘control’ over their care, the GOP will be fine.”

“Bold changes will get politically rewarded.”


“Good policy, bad politics. Medicare is among the most popular programs in the universe with voters who are guaranteed to turn out. Need to try with Medicaid first.”

“It’s responsible, but Democrats will demagogue any reform suggestion, even while refusing to offer any ideas of their own.”

“Don’t jump on entitlements alone. This is a bipartisan plunge. Going it alone is stupid, unless you can make it happen.”

“Medicare changes scare people. The only way they could touch this is if changes don’t affect anyone over 50 and you lose the word ‘voucher.’ ”

“Advocacy of a particular solution prior to establishing a political mandate for change in a particular direction is almost always a mistake.”

“They didn’t even test it; they just rolled it out. Shortsighted, to say the least.”

“In today’s hyperpartisan environment, doing the right thing does not usually equate with being the right political move.”

“Republicans need to earn their way into drastic cuts in meaty programs: Set the right tone with defense, sprinkled with wasteful spending in entitlement programs.”

“Don’t get too far ahead of the curve—jobs and economy first, health care after. Learn the lesson of 2010.”

“But we should do it anyway. The debt abyss is too deep not to.”


“How a voucher system works and the response from doctors are obviously critical.”


Do you support eliminating the federal matching-fund system for presidential elections starting in 2012?

Democrats (103 votes)

Yes: 38%
No: 59%
Undecided (volunteered): 3%


“It’s lipstick on a pig; eliminating it actually could reignite a bipartisan effort to fix the system, or at least start the debate.”

“The current system is broken, and some parts—the convention money—are a complete waste.”

“The federal matching-fund system is obsolete and only helps marginal candidates.”

“Man up and do some honest, comprehensive campaign-finance reform, or do nothing at all.”

“No viable candidates will ever use it again, and we can’t afford it.”


“While big spenders like Obama can waive financing, it’s important for the insurgents in primary fights.”

“The match contribution is voluntary. Mend it, don’t end it.”

“Better approach would be to modernize and improve the law to match today’s realities.”

“It should be changed, however, so that more of the people’s money flows into campaigns, making special-interest money less of a need.”

“No, and we should go for broader campaign-finance reform.”

“I think we need public financing for all federal races. And when you talk to the elected members, they hate what goes along with having to raise all this money.”

“It may be wishful thinking, but Congress should work to fix it so the ability for candidates without access to hoards of money is real again.”

“Last year, the Republicans on the Supreme Court turned the corporate money spigots on; and this year, the GOP House caucus wants to turn off the public contribution. The Republican Party delivers for Big Business.”


Do you support eliminating the federal matching-fund system for presidential elections starting in 2012?

Republicans (103 votes)

Yes: 87%
No: 11%
Undecided, doesn’t matter (volunteered): 2%


“Any candidate that would still take matching funds will ensure they will be significantly underfunded.”

“Obama showed [that] it is not the way to go. He set the standard.”

“Does anyone really want Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich collecting matching funds from our tax dollars?”

“Another holdover from the government’s black-and-white TV era.”

“The government should not be funding elections.”

“No one uses it; an example of do-gooders just costing the government money.”

“Great politics: Let Obama explain why the current system is so great that he avoided it.”

“No one cares about clean elections except Ralph Nader. Scrap it and put the money into something useful—like a nuclear warhead.”

“Obama made it patently clear that enthusiastic supporters are capable of backing their candidate. Contributed money is, indeed, part of free speech.”

“It has not leveled the field, and when the incumbent Democrat’s campaign is talking about raising north of $1 billion, the impact of public financing as an alternative is negligible, at most.”

“Internet fundraising for small-dollar contributions has made the 1970s-style matching fund about as relevant as the eight-track.”


“It will help drive a stake through the heart of the underdog who can’t compete with the big-money candidates.”

“Too late for this cycle: Include [it] in a comprehensive rethink of presidential-campaign rules, once GOP wins Senate.”


Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Deb Callahan, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Stephanie Cutter, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Eric Eve, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Don Fowler, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Kam Kuwata, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bill Lynch, Bob Maloney, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Terry McAuliffe, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O’Donnell, Scott Parven, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Bruce Reed, Mame Reiley, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Wendy Sherman, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Katrina Swett Sarah, Swisher, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, Bridgette Williams, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Barry Jackson, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bruce Keough, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, George S. LeMieux, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Connie Partoyan, Dana Perino, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Tom Wilson, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, and Fred Wszolek.

This article appears in the February 5, 2011 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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