Tuesday's upset in NY-26 has shown the drastic unpopularity of the Republican budget and Medicare plan, which will hopefully help save it from the chopping block in budget negotiations, provided Dems really understand and embrace the dynamics of the election. It's looking more like they do, with the Medicare traveling road show in the works.
But public opposition to the plan extends beyond just the Medicare proposal. It includes strong anger over additional tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, but also proposed cuts to Medicaid.
A poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation today found that 60 percent of Americans prefer to keep Medicaid as is, with the federal government setting standards and guidelines for states. Only 35 percent of those polled support the kind of changes Ryan is proposing. More than half, 53 percent, of people don’t want to see any reduction in Medicaid spending at all.
"With about 69 million people expected to be covered by Medicaid this year, it is no longer the welfare-linked program it once was," said Kaiser President and chief executive Drew Altman. "Medicaid may not be the lower-hanging fruit that many who want to reduce federal entitlement spending have assumed it is."
The polling found that "Support for maintaining the current program may be due at least in part to the public's personal connections to Medicaid and a strong sense of the program's importance. About half of Americans say they or a friend or family member has received Medicaid assistance at some point, and a similar share say the program is important to their family."
It's worth noting support for the program cuts across the political spectrum: that more than half of independents (54%) want no reductions in Medicaid spending to reduce the deficit. While DC labors under the idea that somehow we're all clamoring for austerity out here in the hinterlands, we're just not that into the deficit. What most of the nation really cares is any measure of financial and social security we can continue to grasp. That includes continued access to affordable healthcare.