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Congress repealed the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, which expanded Medicare benefits, after vigorous protests by groups of older people nationwide. Surveys show, however, that older Americans were deeply divided in their opinions. This study examines four explanations for divisions among the elderly on this issue: symbolic politics, socioeconomic status, distrust in government, and direct self-interest. The results of probit analysis indicate that high income, younger age (under 75), Republican partisanship, and distrust in government all contributed to older Americans' opposition to government catastrophic health care coverage. Direct self-interest—that is, perceived direct impact on one's own taxes and benefits—was not significantly related to attitudes toward the program. Implications of the findings for government revenue-raising in general are discussed.


Day, Christine L. 1993. "Older Americans' Attitudes toward the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988." Journal of Politics 55 (Feb): 167-177.

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