President Barack Obama’s health care law has high negative ratings, and they’re not getting any better. But House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan has high negatives, too — and they’re not healing either.

That’s why Democrats are so nervous about what might happen to Medicare as a result of the debt ceiling crisis. In their eyes, the Ryan plan had completely turned the tables for 2012. It was going to be about Ryancare, not Obamacare.

But now that Obama has put some big Medicare changes on the table as he tried to negotiate with Republicans — such as raising the eligibility age, increasing premiums and changing deductibles and co-payments — some Democratic operatives are worried that the tables will become unturned.

How badly could a pre-election Medicare savings deal muddy the waters? A June poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that most seniors think it’s more important to keep current benefits in Medicare and Social Security than to reduce the deficit. But the difference was especially lopsided among older voters who are Democrats or lean Democratic: Eighty-one percent of those seniors said it’s more important to leave their benefits alone.

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