Skip to main content
ABC News
Seniors Skeptical on Health Care Spending

Tom asks, “Why are senior citizens crying “socialism” at town halls?”

As we like to say in academia: I don’t know the answer, so let me tell you something I do know. (Graphs made in collaboration with Daniel Lee.)

First, who has health insurance (from the 2000 Annenberg survey):

Next, should the government spend more on health care (this time from 2004):

Some Obamacare supporters say: Senior citizens have Medicare, which is a government plan, so they should support public health care provision, right? But maybe some people on Medicare are suspicious of expanded government involvement in health care because they see it as competing with Medicare for scarce dollars.

Here are a couple more graphs (pretty similar to the second graph above):

Pretty much the older you are, the less you favor govermnent spending on health care.

P.S. The sample size is so huge we were able to have the luxury of plotting raw data. All we did is pool the age categories 91 and up. Yes, we could make the graph cleaner by smoothing it, but why bother? The picture from the raw data is clear enough.

P.P.S. Yes, it would be good to have newer data. But I thought it would be useful to see this, given that we had the data already at hand and so the graphs were effortless to make. The patterns didn’t change much from 2000 to 2004, so maybe they represent fairly stable opinions.