Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Public attitudes toward Medicaid are remarkably positive, and opposition to cuts is reasonably strong, according to a new public opinion survey released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation http://www.kff.org/medicaid/pomr062905pkg.cfm .
While two-thirds of the public think their state has major budget problems, a substantial majority are reluctant to cut Medicaid to balance state budgets, and a majority think the federal government should maintain (44 percent) or increase (36 percent) federal spending on Medicaid; only 12 percent of the public prefer seeing federal funding of Medicaid cut.
Attitudes Towards Medicaid
Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of adults say Medicaid is a "very important" government program, ranking it close to Social Security (88 percent) and Medicare (83 percent) in the public's mind, equal to federal aid to public schools (74 percent), and above defense and military spending (57 percent). About 8 in 10 Democrats (82 percent) and Independents (79 percent) view Medicaid as an important government program, while fewer, but still 6 in 10 Republicans (61 percent) express that view.
A majority of Americans (56 percent) report having some interaction with Medicaid, either having been enrolled themselves at some point (16 percent) or knowing a friend or family member who has received health coverage or long-term care assistance through the program (40 percent). Additionally, if they needed health care and were eligible, nearly 8 in 10 Americans (78 percent) say they would be willing to enroll in Medicaid. This view is consistent across different party identifications.