I’ve written before about how popular the Medicaid program has become and how firmly opposed the public is to cutting Medicaid. One unanticipated outcome of the last two months of debate on in Congress around bills that would have cut Medicaid substantially in the process of “repealing” the Affordable Care Act has been the willingness of families, individuals, and groups affected by huge Medicaid cuts to be increasingly outspoken. For example, a newly-formed association of families with children who have complex medical needs – the Little Lobbyists – was extremely active. These families, often with kids in tow, talked to lawmakers and the public constantly about how Medicaid helped them with the enormous expenses for their kids that their private health insurance plans just didn’t cover. Disability rights groups, groups of older adults, multiple providers, and even every state Medicaid director in the country also weighted in during the health debate, further increasing the profile of Medicaid.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, all this activity has apparently helped educate the public about the Medicaid program and, if anything, given it even higher approval ratings. The independent nonpartisan research organization PRRI just released a public opinion study finding that nearly seven in ten Americans (69%) oppose cutting Medicaid, support that transcends racial lines. Opposing Medicaid cuts is even a topic agreed on by Republicans, Democrats and Independents – regardless of affiliation, majorities oppose reducing funding. These results echo earlier research, showing consistent support for Medicaid and even higher support among Republicans.
Medicaid is a popular program that is important to millions of Americans and their families because it helps provide the health care they need and can’t get in the private market. Future proposals for deep Medicaid cuts are likely to face the same rocky road as recent health “repeal and replace” bills in Congress that contained billions of dollars in Medicaid funding reductions.