By now, almost everyone is aware that Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare is a disaster in terms of public opinion. But, as TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira explains in his latest ‘Public Opinion Snapshot’:
…The Ryan budget’s commitment to dismantle Medicare is by no means the only unpopular part. Consider a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll that asked about ending Medicaid as we know it, which is also part of the Ryan budget.
First, the poll asked whether respondents supported major reductions in Medicaid spending (as the Ryan budget does), minor reductions, or no reductions. Only 13 percent supported major reductions. Thirty percent supported minor reductions, and a majority (53 percent) supported no reductions.
As unpopular as Medicaid reductions are with the public, delegating administration of the program to the states is even more of a loser with the public, as Teixeira explains:
Then the poll directly asked about Rep. Ryan’s proposal to change Medicaid fundamentally by “giving each state a fixed amount of money and eliminating federal minimum standards for Medicaid.” This would replace the current arrangement where “the federal government guarantees health care coverage and long term care for certain low income people” and “each state administers its own Medicaid program … but all states are required to provide coverage to anyone who meets minimum criteria set by the federal government.” The Ryan proposal, which truly would end Medicaid as we know it, was rejected by a thumping 60-35 margin.
If Republicans were hoping that changing the topic from screwing the elderly out of their health security to ripping off health care services for the neediest Americans would give them some breathing space, they were clearly mistaken.