Ohio is still debating Medicaid expansion. Kasich backs the expansion under his new “compassionate conservative” persona, but the Ohio Tea Party really only has one issue, and it’s opposition to Obamacare. It didn’t help that Ohio Republican leaders helped them pass a useless law banning Obamacare in 2011 which didn’t “ban” anything, because that just made them madder:
Here’s a new poll that says the expansion is popular among non-Republicans:
A clear majority of Ohioans, 63 percent, support the idea of expanding Medicaid eligibility to cover more low-income adults, but the state’s Republicans don’t share that view, according to a new Ohio Health Issues Poll.
The release coincides with hearings starting this week in the House Finance committee on two Medicaid reform bills –one that would raise the eligibility limit to 138 percent of the federal poverty level and one that would require several changes in the operation of the program but does not include the expansion.
The lawmakers who sponsored the bills are set to give testimony Tuesday, while testimony from proponents and opponents is likely next week.
The state has estimated that 275,000 more adults would be added to Medicaid under the expansion. So far, 24 states have opted to go forward with the expansion, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports.
In the pollsters’ breakdown of results, the only demographic group that did not have a majority answering “yes” was Republican Party members, with only 33 percent in favor. The question got 52 percent support among independents and 82 percent among Democrats. Support was 61 percent among registered voters. Support for the expansion was lowest among white males, those who have employer-paid coverage, college graduates and those who say they know a lot about the issue.
This does not actually surprise me, because, despite what one might hear about how much we all hate the program, half of Americans report a personal tie to Medicaid and they like Medicaid:
Kaiser’s latest health tracking poll focuses on Medicaid — and some of its findings may surprise you. About half (51%) of the 1,203 adults surveyed report a personal connection with the federal-state insurance program for low-income Americans, defined as receiving benefits themselves or having a friend or family member who has done so.
Digging into who actually receives Medicaid explains how so many Americans have had a brush with the program. According to previous Kaiser research, a full 70% of nursing-home residents have Medicaid coverage. (As the NYT noted in a recent storyon the impact of proposed Medicaid changes on the elderly, seniors who start out with savings often spend all their money on long-term care.)
And according to Kaiser, 60% of low-income kids, 44% of HIV/AIDS patients, 41% of pregnant women, 20% of people with severe disabilities and 21% of Medicare beneficiaries receive Medicaid coverage. About 20% of adults in the current Kaiser poll report having ever received Medicaid benefits, and of those, 86% report an overall positive experience with the program — very similar to satisfaction rates with private insurance.