Saturday, June 24, 2017
Americans Don't Agree With GOP About Medicaid
The Republicans in the Senate are still scheduled to vote on their trillion dollar tax cut for the rich next week, which they have cleverly disguised as a health care bill. But calling the bill a health care bill doesn't make it one -- especially since it would result in millions fewer having health insurance, tens of thousands more dying from lack of insurance, and higher insurance premiums for the consumers and businesses that can still afford to buy it. It is a tax cut bill for the rich that stomps all over millions of Americans to pay for itself.
One of the ways it provides to pay for those tax cuts for the rich is to severely cut funding for Medicaid. The House's tax cut bill would cut Medicaid by $834 billion. The Senate version, to be voted on next week, would make far deeper cuts (although the biggest cuts wouldn't come until after the next election).
I think the Republicans thought it would be easy to pick on Medicaid, and no one would care. After all, isn't Medicaid just for the poor (who have no political power, and can easily be demonized)? Well, no. Medicaid does cover many poor people, but it also does more. It covers children, people with disabilities, and those in nursing homes -- altogether about 20% of the U.S. population. If an American is not on Medicaid, then he/she probably knows someone who is helped by Medicaid.
The Republicans have misjudged the American people. Rather than be opposed to Medicaid, about 74% actually support the program (including 61% of Republicans, 76% of Independents, and 84% of Democrats). People also think that Medicaid works well for those who need it. About 61% say that (including 52% of Republicans, 62% of Independents, and 68% of Democrats) -- and this is true in both the states that expanded Medicaid and the states that didn't.
The congressional Republicans may claim they are "fixing" our health care system by passing this tax cut bill, but they need to be careful. Most Americans don't see it that way. They don't think you can fix a health care system by denying health care to millions of citizens -- and they are right. If the GOP insists on passing this bill, it could easily come back to bite them on the butt in November of 2018.
These charts are from the Kaiser Family Foundation Poll -- the newest one being done between June 14th and 19th of a random national sample of 1,208 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.