On Tuesday, New Yorkers in the state’s 26th Congressional District delivered House Republicans a clear message that House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to end Medicare won’t fly. But a new poll shows that the American public’s distaste for Ryan’s proposal doesn’t stop at Medicare. According to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 60 percent of those polled prefer the keep Medicaid — the federal heath insurance system for the poor — “as is,” as opposed to Ryan’s detrimental block grant program. Indeed, more than half want to see no reductions in Medicaid spending at all because of “a strong sense of the program’s importance.” Indeed, many said they had benefited or knew people who had benefited from the program directly:
Support for maintaining the current program may be due at least in part to the public’s personal connections to Medicaid and a strong sense of the program’s importance. About half of Americans say they or a friend or family member has received Medicaid assistance at some point, and a similar share say the program is important to their family.
Even those who initially supported Ryan’s Medicaid block grant idea said the Democratic position could sway them into maintaining Medicaid as it is. As The Huffington Post’s Emily Swanson notes, “The survey suggests the Republican Party might make some inroads in changing public opinion, but likely not enough to attain majority backing.” Overall, the Kaiser poll verified previous polls‘ findings that general cuts to vital entitlement programs like Medicaid and Medicare to reduce the deficit is an agenda deeply out of line with the American public.