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Was Newt Gingrich right about GOP's Medicare plan?

After Newt Gingrich called Paul Ryan's Medicare plan 'radical,' he accepted party demands to recant his statements. But polls show that most Americans do not want changes to Medicare.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks during the Kiwanis Club luncheon on Monday in Dubuque, Iowa.

Charlie Neibergall / AP

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Newt Gingrich has apologized for labeling the Republican plan to overhaul Medicare a “radical change” and “right-wing social engineering.” A contrite Mr. Gingrich appeared on Fox News Tuesday night, saying he had been in touch with Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin, the plan’s architect, and that he supported Congressman Ryan’s budget goals.

While the party faithful may have demanded an apology from the former House Speaker, most Americans appear to be as wary of major changes to Medicare.

A recent poll shows that most Americans resist changes to Medicare – but that those opinions are susceptible to change, depending on the language used to describe the plan's consequences.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released in late April found that 57 percent of Americans opposed cuts to Medicare, and 84 percent opposed making seniors pay more for Medicare. Ryan's plan would do both.

Polls consistently show that most Americans oppose Medicare cuts, with similar results found by USA Today and NBC/The Wall Street Journal pollsters.


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