Majority of public wants to keep Medicaid expansion funds

Majority of public wants to keep Medicaid expansion funds
© Getty Images

A new poll finds 84 percent of the public — and 71 percent of Republicans — want to continue federal funding for expanding Medicaid under former President Obama’s healthcare law.

The strong support for Medicaid’s expansion revealed in the new Kaiser Family Foundation poll raises new questions for Republicans vowing to end the expansion.

A House-approved bill repealing and replacing ObamaCare would end the federal funding in 2020. It’s not yet clear what the Senate will propose doing.

The Kaiser poll finds support for Medicaid’s expansion across party lines: 93 percent of Democrats, 83 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans believe it’s an important element to keep in a repeal-and-replace bill.

ADVERTISEMENT

About 7 in 10 of those surveyed said Medicaid financing should continue as currently structured, where the federal government guarantees coverage, defines the benefits and matches state spending.

There’s more of a partisan split to this question, however, with 90 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of independents wanting to keep the program’s financing as is.

About 48 percent of Republicans favored an alternative approach — like the one that’s in the House-passed American Health Care Act, where the federal government limits how much money it gives states to spend on their Medicaid programs but grants them more flexibility in designing their programs.

In the Senate, GOP lawmakers representing states that expanded the joint federal-state program for low-income and disabled Americans want to ensure their constituents don’t lose coverage. But those representing states whose governors didn’t take the extra federal money don’t want to be penalized for sticking to their conservative principles.

Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOhio Senate candidate unveils ad comparing Biden to Carter Advocates urge Senate to vote on nominees for board reviewing whistleblower claims Bipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise MORE (R-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) both represent Medicaid expansion states and are tasked with discussing how quickly a Senate bill will wind down Medicaid expansion. Portman has said he favors a smoother transition than the House bill’s firm date of 2020.

The poll surveyed 1,205 adults by telephone from May 16 to May 22. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.