We don’t exactly know what Obama supports. But we do know the public wants Washington to keep its hands off Medicare. Nearly 60 percent of people oppose any cuts to Medicare, according to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health. Harvard’s Dr. Robert Blendon said the public supports Medicare even more than the numbers indicate. He said it’s one of the biggest disconnects between the public and official Washington he has ever seen.

Presidential vagueness plus a very popular program the public wants to keep the way it is adds up to a very significant story.

The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow @USProjectCJR for more posts from this author and the rest of the United States Project team.

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.