Let’s shift the focus

Despite best efforts by conservatives and media personalities:

A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that most Americans oppose the GOP plan to cut Medicaid, throwing into question the conventional wisdom that this health insurance program for the poor lacks the widespread public support generally attached to Medicare.

Opposition to Medicaid cuts to reduce the deficit proved almost as strong as opposition to cuts to Medicare. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they favored “no reductions” to Medicaid, while 59 percent said the same of Medicare.

And, as big believers in conventional wisdom, Republicans pivot from their plan to end Medicare and shift to their plan to end Medicaid:

Republicans Look to Medicaid as Winner Issue

Senate Finance ranking member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, thinks repealing a piece of the health reform law that keeps states from kicking people off their Medicaid rolls could hitch a ride with legislation to raise the government’s debt limit. “I think we’ve got a shot at putting that in there, but we’ll just have to see.”

While Democrats keep hammering Republicans over a House budget that would turn Medicare into a voucher program, Republicans have been trying to shift the focus back to Medicaid.

Shift the focus. Because, as you know, Medicaid is always referred to as a program for “the poor” and nobody likes those people.

Except. Turns out. Many of those polled know “the poor” personally, because they have relied on Medicaid at one time or another, or know someone who currently relies on Medicaid.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

61 replies
  1. 1
    Bulworth says:

    Senate Finance ranking member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, thinks repealing a piece of the health reform law that keeps states from kicking people off their Medicaid rolls could hitch a ride with legislation to raise the government’s debt limit. “I think we’ve got a shot at putting that in there, but we’ll just have to see.”

    Because we know that no senior-citizens rely on Medicaid for nursing home care or anything like that….

  2. 2
    BGinCHI says:

    Jesus F’ing Christ.

    With these attacks on healthcare, which affect everyone (when your elderly parents get stuck and run out of money, it affects you, period), and with the storms/tornadoes knocking down whole towns and killing people, the Dems need to make it clear that government is critical for making our lives better.

    Message. It needs to be bigger and stronger.

  3. 3
    Alex S. says:

    Also, lots of children depend on Medicaid. If you want to defend it, make it about them.

  4. 4
    PeakVT says:

    Republicans Look to Medicaid as Winner Issue

    It’s a brilliant plan to keep kids sick and have bedridden parents occupy spare bedrooms across the country. Who wouldn’t see killing Medicaid as a winner?

  5. 5
    Bulworth says:

    @BGinCHI: I’m actually starting to get the idea that maybe Republicans don’t understand what government does or how most people live.

  6. 6
    kay says:

    @Bulworth:

    The poll itself seems to show that most people know that, which is sort of heartening. Well, not “most”. A lot of people know that.
    Not surprising, because it’s true, and there are lots and lots of people in nursing homes.

  7. 7
    Scott says:

    Yes, in a down economy, with lots and lots of people losing their jobs and having trouble getting new ones, losing their homes, having trouble getting insurance, watching gas and food prices going up and up, it’s totally going to be a winning issue to tell Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public that it’s time to start really fucking over people who aren’t mega-rich.

  8. 8
    BGinCHI says:

    @Bulworth:

    I’m actually starting to get the idea that maybe Republicans don’t understand care what government does or how most people live.

    Fixed.

  9. 9
    Tim says:

    I’ll be honest: until very recently, I didn’t know the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. I knew that they’re different, but not what the difference was. I bet that lots of people are in the same boat, so cuts to Medica** are the same as cuts to Medica**. And both actions are heartless, mean, and bad.

  10. 10
    dmsilev says:

    Dear Republicans: Villains in Charles Dickens novels are intended to be cautionary tales, not role models.

  11. 11
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    It’s pretty obvious that this is the GOP plan to end all opposition to the “death tax”, seeing as they’ve got this foolproof plan to insure that no one but the top 1% will ever have to worry about inheritance taxes…seeing as their wealth will be transfered to parasite health “care” companies long before the heirs ever get a chance to stake a claim.

  12. 12
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bulworth:
    @BGinCHI:

    I think both are true. I am also starting to be hopeful that the average voter is noticing.

  13. 13
    T says:

    I would like to add that from personal experience medicaid kicks ass, my son was born on medicaid. We even had insurance, but he was also covered on medicaid, and it kicked in before the insurance, so instead of dealing with insurance bullshit like copays, we just walked in handed them his medicaid card had the baby and walked back out. Nothing could have been simpler, and you wonder why the poor seem more likely to support a single payer system.

  14. 14
    Mudge says:

    Anyone with a parent in a nursing home probably knows about Medicaid. Anyone with a disabled friend probably knows about Medicaid. Anyone who knows a mom who lost her job during the recession or has a low paying job without benefits (I know, that’s redundant) knows about Medicaid for children.

  15. 15
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @Tim:

    I’ll be honest: until very recently, I didn’t know the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. I knew that they’re different, but not what the difference was. I bet that lots of people are in the same boat, so cuts to Medica** are the same as cuts to Medica**. And both actions are heartless, mean, and bad.

    You beat me to it, Tim. Dare I hope this is an issue on which low-information voters favor Democrats? It would be nice to see the GOP hoisted on its own petard.

  16. 16
    beltane says:

    Everyone but our Beltway courtiers and the tiny class of uber-rich people spread thinly throughout the country knows someone who is or who has been on Medicaid, and they know they too may one day be in need of the program. People who may object to cash assistance for the poor generally support health care for the poor, especially children and the disabled. The sight of elderly, scab covered paraplegics may warm the hearts of Galtians, but is considered an unconscionable crime by actual humans.

    We live in a country where 50% of people are not able to scrounge up $2,000 within 30 days in the event of an emergency. If the GOP really wants to arouse this sleeping tiger they deserve everything they have coming to them.

  17. 17
    drkrick says:

    @Mudge: And an alarming percentage of the Village and the Beltway GOP don’t know any people like that.

  18. 18
    maya says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Jesus F’ing Christ – of the Latter Day Saints

    fxd thks bai

  19. 19
    kay says:

    @Tim:

    You’d have to click through and read the poll, but Kaiser questions are usually good (they’re actually interested, rather than pushing a viewpoint).
    The answers seem to indicate that people do know what Medicaid is and who it serves.
    I’m wondering this: one of the reasons that Medicaid rolls skyrocketed was because we had a huge economic implosion. Many, many more people were Medicaid-qualified.
    I’m wondering if ones attitude about safety nets changes when you rely on one, if only temporarily.
    I don’t know, but this was one severe downturn. I’m not sure all this austerity enthusiasm isn’t scaring people who are already scared.

  20. 20

    The numbers in the poll are better than I would have predicted. I am pleasantly surprised.

    [Smiles with approval :-)].

    Taking away a large portion of Medicaid, without replacing it with something at least as beneficial, would have the effect of performing euthanasia on people who are too young, too old, too sick, too weak, too injured, or too disabled to take care of themselves.

    Are we to look forward to hearing talks about “unproductive eaters”?

    [Yes, Godwin. Sue me.]

  21. 21
    beltane says:

    @Mudge: Without Medicaid, the disabled children of this country would have nothing. Nothing. Even those lucky enough to have private insurance will find it doesn’t pay for sh*t. I’m sure the GOP and their glibertarian apologists will suggest these children pay their way by appearing in freak shows or something, but this won’t sit well with normal people.

    The Republican party truly has become nothing more than a stain upon humanity.

  22. 22
    MagicPanda says:

    @Tim said (And I totally agree):

    I’ll be honest: until very recently, I didn’t know the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. I knew that they’re different, but not what the difference was.

    Also, it doesn’t get any better when you explain it.

    “You shouldn’t be worried about cutting Medicaid, because it’s for poor people. We can then use that money to stimulate the economy by giving tax breaks to rich people. See! It all makes sense!”

  23. 23
    Mudge says:

    @drkrick: The rest of us voters, however, do.

  24. 24
    Han's Solo says:

    Of course they are going to try to shift the focus, that is what they always do. They don’t want us to look at their policies because their policies suck. They want us concerned about the “Ground Zero Mosque” or Obama’s place of birth or the New Black Panther Party or any of a hundred nothing issues that pluck at the prejudiced heart strings of their intellectually stunted base.

    They’ll try to substitute Medicaid for Medicare, but it won’t work because their base doesn’t have the brain power to understand the difference. So that will fail.

    Once it fails they’ll go back to their standby: The Southern Strategy. They’ll pump up some non-troversy using Fox and Hate Radio and the “liberal media” will chase whatever barely disguised racist dog whistle issue they choose.

    But here is the thing, I think the Southern Strategy is close to reaching its expiration date. The demographic changes the south is undergoing will soon render right wing xenophobia a losing strategy, but will the wingnut base care? Obama bringing up the Dream Act again could be one of the most underestimated pieces of political jiu jitsu of the year. If the Dems and Obama push the Dream Act next year the wingnuts will react as they always do: by being racist twits. That could drive up minority turn out help elect more Ds to Congress.

  25. 25
    beltane says:

    Olympia Snowe just came out strongly against the Ryan budget, and strongly in favor of Medicare and Medicaid. Ryan’s “courage” is of the same flavor as a drunk guy who decides to stand in the middle of a busy interstate mooning people. There is nothing heroic about stupidity.

  26. 26
    artem1s says:

    Except. Turns out. Many of those polled know “the poor” personally, becauseare under 55, can’t afford private health care premiums and their employer doesn’t provide health insurance and they have relied on Medicaid SCHIP at one time or another, or know someone who currently relies on Medicaid SCHIP so they can take their kids to the doctor instead of the emergency room everytime they are sick.

  27. 27
    Brian R. says:

    OT, but if you haven’t seen the swarm of angry comments at Patrick McHenry’s Facebook page, you really should.

  28. 28
    kay says:

    @Mudge:

    It’s just lies. No one is stopping any conservative governor from “innovating” and saving money on Medicaid. They have to provide the same service to the same number of people at a better price. They don’t need a block grant, unless they want the freedom to throw people off, and that’s not “innovating”, that’s “throwing people off”.
    If they’re the bidness geniuses that they all claim to be should be a walk in the park. I don’t know what they’re waiting for. Innovate away, I say. Same service, better price.

  29. 29
    Bulworth says:

    @Brian R.: Can’t access FB at work. Are they angry comments relating to his corporate-sponsored bashing of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Elizabeth Warren? The GOP War on consumers is a most peculiar thing.

  30. 30
    Katie5 says:

    @beltane: The Republicans engage in magical thinking. The poor disabled children will be taken up by the churches or other charities (read–more churches).

    This is also an excellent reason for Medicare to never be means-tested. I never knew the reason why it shouldn’t. The concept always made sense to me: why shouldn’t the wealthy pay for their own health care? But then I read a Digby post from some time ago that it doesn’t really save that much money; the infrastructure needed to do the means testing is expensive (and likely falls to the states, which are already strapped); and most importantly, would make it a prime political target just like Medicaid. A la, why are we supporting seniors who weren’t smart enough to save for what they should have seen long ago?

    Related to that, I was talking to a Chinese student after I read somewhere else (maybe here?) about the reasons why there is such a big difference in savings rates between Chinese and Americans. Because Chinese are smarter? Well, maybe, but what they are is terrified that they’ll have no money for health care when they’re older. Health care is a fraction of the cost in China relative to the US. But for the average Chinese, it’s very high. And for good care, it’s astronomical.

  31. 31
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bulworth: They are indeed. And they are very angry. I didn’t see any supporters posting. Interestingly, I think this points to one of Elizabeth Warren’s greatest assets; she just seems like a nice lady. Attack her is like attacking someone’s mom; it just doesn’t sit right with people. The fact that she knows her shit and smack people down for herself makes it even better.

  32. 32
    kay says:

    @artem1s:

    SCHIP at one time or another, or know someone who currently relies on Medicaid SCHIP so they can take their kids to the doctor instead of the emergency room everytime they are sick.

    I agree. SCHIP was huge. If we ever get to single payer, it’ll be because of SCHIP.
    Which is why they fought it so hard :)
    Remember the vetoes? There was panic in the streets in conservative circles. “Stop children’s health coverage, by any means necessary”.

  33. 33
    joeyess says:

    By all means, let’s have that debate. Nothing like banging a conservative over the head for setting up death panels for children with cancer.

  34. 34
    noodler says:

    Funny that my mom, who is pretty much a winger, just aged up and received her medicare card this year. Suddenly health care has taken on a new meaning to her – something inviolate. But she still forwards lame winger joke emails to me too. (and if the GOP loses her, there can be no hope).

  35. 35
    Bulworth says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Well that’s very gratifying to hear, that at least some of our citizenry are paying attention and appropriately outraged.

  36. 36
    goblue72 says:

    I’m pretty sure your average non-wingnut voter over age 55 is aware that Medicaid pays for nursing home care. And either they have a parent/s in a nursing home being paid for by Medicaid or they themsevles expect to rely on it to pay for their nursing home care. I believe Medicaid is also used to pay for some assisted living and in-home care for the elderly, to avoid sending them to nursing homes.

    Going after Medicaid means going after elderly people. Its almost the same as going after Medicare. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are about as close to a European social welfare state type program as we are able to get in this country. And just like European voters, Americans will raise a complete crap-storm if the elites try to take it away from the rest of the country. Its why the GOP hates those programs so much.

  37. 37
    Yutsano says:

    @noodler: My mom has literally been on government run health care all her life, from childhood to marriage and even now. She is chomping at the bit to get Medicare. I’m honestly wondering if a push to expand it might just work.

  38. 38
    Steve says:

    I always thought Medicaid was just health care for the poor (not that that’s a bad thing). I had no idea how much of it goes for nursing homes and elder care.

    When you realize that the Ryan budget slashes Medicaid to the bone NOW, not in 10 years, you start to realize why Bowser and the Hochul campaign were going into nursing homes to campaign. Yeah, balancing the budget by not funding nursing homes will be a huge winner.

    Bob Somerby has been discussing this quite a bit lately, including anecdotes about the type of care his dad received back in the days before Medicaid and Medicare.

  39. 39
    JPL says:

    I posted this on the wrong thread and I should repeat it here. Dick Morris’ focus group called to ask which conservative did I want to run against Obama. I said none because of their stance on privatizing Medicare. The gal said that she was hearing a lot of that.
    I also pointed out that they were lying to say it would not affect those over 65 of age and explained my reasons.
    It’s nice to hear that they are getting grief about medicare.
    How did I get on a list that was meant for tea party supporters?? haha

  40. 40
    Yutsano says:

    @JPL:

    The gal said that she was hearing a lot of that.

    I suddenly haz hope.

  41. 41
    ppcli says:

    @JPL: Man, next time you get a call like that you should say that you want Sarah Palin to be the nominee, and you are wildly in favor of the Ryan plan. If the Republicans are fanatically committed to self-immolation, why should you tell them to throw away the gas can?

  42. 42
    grandpajohn says:

    @Bulworth: most are about his rude childish tantrum like behavior and his lack of civility as a committee chairmen, most are calling for him to apologize for this behavior and many are even calling for him to resign over this appallingly unprofessional and crude behavior.

  43. 43
    Mudge says:

    @kay: Of course it is lies. Every time a Republican opens his or her mouth a lie escapes. There is no deficit reduction in any of their plans, they are pursuing the elimination of any program that benefits society, a concept they do not accept. Greed and inhumanity as policy.

  44. 44
    Raenelle says:

    If NY26 was competitive, why not try to get Ryan’s seat? The Dems should try to find a competitive candidate, now, and go aggressively after Ryan. If we took him down, that would keep Medicare safe for at least a decade.

  45. 45
    ChrisB says:

    @JPL: Yup, a missed opportunity. I too would have said that Sarah Palin was the only candidate who could get the country back on track. But you probably have more integrity than I.

  46. 46
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @Mudge:

    Of course it is lies. Every time a Republican opens his or her mouth a lie escapes. There is no deficit reduction in any of their plans, they are pursuing the elimination of any program that benefits society, a concept they do not accept. Greed and inhumanity as policy.

    The GOP’s problem these days is that the Tea Party true believers aren’t lying about their agenda to destroy the New Deal and Great Society programs.

  47. 47
    JPL says:

    @ChrisB: It’s just hard for me to say Sarah’s name without an expletive in front of it.

  48. 48
    JITC says:

    Republicans live in a bubble full of dumbstupid.

    In addition to the moral evil of getting rid of Medicaid (and Medicare), Americans know that any “cost savings” to the federal government will be born by SOMEBODY. And we know that “somebody” ultimately is us. State and local governments will have to pick up these costs. It’s not like these people stop seeking medical care and it’s not like they can magically start paying for it themselves.

    This goes for all programs. Cut spending on needed infrastructure projects and our over-burdened states and cities must pick up the slack, saving us citizens nothing (and in fact, probably costing us more as the pool of funds to tap into shrinks).

    Federal legislators (of all political persuasion) often forget that we individuals depend on the services of city, county, state AND federal systems and that they are interconnected. Maybe they just forget that we are aware of this?

  49. 49
    Mudge says:

    @…now I try to be amused: Those are the Tea Party types in their Scooters (or Hoverounds, see ad at top of page) who yell “Small government” then “Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare!”

    I will amend my statement and append that when a Tea Partier opens his or her mouth, stupid escapes.

  50. 50
    Original Lee says:

    @Mudge: Exactly. My grandma is in a nursing home on Medicaid. She had exactly enough financial wherewithal to pay for a year of nursing home care on her own before completely running out of money. Without Medicaid, she would have been who knows where for a bit and then in her grave. Instead, she is alive and still kickin’ butt (to the extent that a 97-year-old in a wheelchair can kick butt). There are 27 of her descendants who are all glad she is still around. So figure that kind of spread across the U.S., and yes, you get to where nearly everybody knows an elderly person, usually a relative, who is on Medicaid. Plus, if there wasn’t Medicaid, we’d have to pass the hat to pay for Grandma, and not everybody is gainfully employed.

  51. 51
    El Cid says:

    We don’t know what it may be, if anything will happen, or how anything real would be affected, but I am nervous about reports / gossip that the ‘debt talks’ with the chicken-shit bomb-wearing House Republicans threatening to default the USA unless they get the budget items they want in non-rich people favoring spending reductions have Biden negotiating some sort of cuts / reductions / limits in Medicare / Medicaid.

    Again, I don’t know anything about it, it’s gossip, but none of it would surprise me if it were something which may not be that harmful policywise, it may be something easily attacked politically.

  52. 52
    Triassic Sands says:

    The difference between 59% and 53% is fairly large. The media refer to Medicare much more often, as do political commentators, including those on the Left. Medicaid is often an afterthought for commentators.

    But it’s not an afterthought for Medicaid clients. Democrats should lump the two programs together, tying the fate of Medicaid with that of Medicare. Medicaid’s highest expenditures are for elderly people.

  53. 53
    JCT says:

    @El Cid: You know, last time there were negotiations over budget cuts the Republicans got rolled. I think Biden is too politically savvy to deal away the big Medicare/Medicade cudgel the Repubs handed them, he’s a competitive guy who wants to win in 2012.

    The Dems are not going to give away their advantage, especially given what happened in NY yesterday.

  54. 54
    MagicPanda says:

    @kay: Hi Kay. I did finally click through to the poll, but I didn’t see any questions that would indicate whether people know what Medicaid is and how it differs from Medicare.

    I agree with you that the questions are well designed and don’t seem (to my layperson eyes) to be biased, but I could totally imagine someone just thinking: I don’t know what the difference between Medicare and Medicaid is, but I don’t want the government messing around with ANY of that stuff!

  55. 55
    Elie says:

    Medicaid is the largest payor for nursing home care for seniors and institutional and related services for impaired children. Hands down, bar none.Medicare pays very little for nursing home institutional care comparatively and nothing for long term care.

    Not only would middle class granny get screwed but a whole bunch of middle class parents who otherwise could not have their impaired children cared for. After that, and to many, as important, these groups of providers would get no compensation (nursing homes, institutional and half way houses for children as well as home care providers). These providers would have to try to collect their fees from people with nowhere near the resources. These providers are also employers and would lay off the workers that they now could not pay.

    Healthcare services ocurr not just in theory, but in real communities where real people are cared for and by people who do this very important work. This is not just a fairy tale for idealogues. People need these services and their needs and the providers of these services exist in reality.

  56. 56
    Juicetard (FKA Liberty60) says:

    Last night my local MoveOn group held a “Republican Cat Food Buffet” in Huntington Beach, Dana Rohrabacher’s (R- Wingnuttia) district.

    We passed out baggies of cat food, with a slip of paper affixed that read “This free sample of Medicare voucher provided by the Orange County Republican party”, with the Confederate logo of the GOP below it (Thanks, Dennis!)

    What was interesting is how positive the passersby seemed, especially the middle aged and above.
    Although HB is a comfortable, yacht-owning demographic, pointing out that “reform” of Medicare means eliminating the checks that your mom and dad live on, is a bridge too far, even for Republicans.

  57. 57
    Medicine Man says:

    Some choice observations from K-thug: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c.....n-mistake/

  58. 58
  59. 59
    Elie says:

    @Juicetard (FKA Liberty60):

    You live on Social Security – not Medicare…

    People also think that Medicaid pays rent for apartments and such. Not the case.

    Both Medicare and Medicaid pay only for healthcare and related social services. Only. No rents, no food, no living stipend. State welfare pays for a living stipend for those who qualify. The amounts, lest anyone think that this is generous, is about $200 per month per person who qualifies — and that aint many…

    social security is a federal program for seniors and the disabled ONLY.

  60. 60
    Juicetard (FKA Liberty60) says:

    @Elie: Correctly noted- which is, I think, what is dawning on the blue collar teatards, that the alleged gravy train of generous welfare benefits that allow strapping young bucks to buy t-bone steaks is a myth.

    What gummint benefits really mean is the miserly check that allows your aunt to make her rent payment, the Medicaid benefit that forces her to shop around town to find the one dentist who will accept it fill her cavity,and so on.

  61. 61
    Elie says:

    @Juicetard (FKA Liberty60):

    Yep. Absolutely!

    I hope this real life truth keeps sinking in and penetrating the layers of white middle and working class denial.

    I can also assure you that many of those injured during the horrible tornadoes will be receiving Medicaid assistance to cover their hospital costs. It is profoundly amazing how many seasonal and self employed working class people are completely without any coverage. Many state Medicaid programs have Medically Needy categories of assistance that give them coverage for catastrophic inpatient care…

Comments are closed.