The Public Supports Creating State Insurance Exchanges

Fifty-five percent of American say that creating state-based health insurance exchanges is their state’s top of the health priority this year, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health. Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation said, “Governors are largely splitting along partisan lines on the exchanges, but the public is not. People like the idea.”

While some Republican governors are balking at the optional expansion of Medicaid under the ACA, 52% of Americans say their state should expand its Medicaid program. Sixty-six percent of Republicans prefer to keep their state Medicaid program as is; 75% of Democrats are seeking a state expansion; and Independents are evenly divided.

So far, 18 states and the District of Columbia plan to create their own state-based exchanges; seven other states will establish exchanges in partnership with the federal government; and 25 will default to a federally-run exchange.

Fifty-two percent of Americans (including 78% of Republicans) say that opponents of the ACA should continue trying to change it so that the law has less impact on taxpayers, employers, and health care providers. Forty percent say that those opposed to the health care law should accept that it is now the law of the land and stop trying to block its implementation.

Policy makers involved in budget deficit negotiations face a conundrum. Sixty-five percent of Americans say that Washington should act quickly to bring down the deficit, but there is little public appetite for major reductions in federal health care spending. “In a climate heavily focused on reducing the federal budget deficit, the public still places a high priority on federal spending on veterans’ health care, medical research, health-related responses to disasters, and preventing chronic and infectious diseases,” said Robert Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health. Fifty-eight percent oppose any cuts to Medicare and 46% oppose any cuts to Medicaid.

Americans support only two of six proposals to trim Medicare. Eighty-five percent say drug companies should be required to give the federal government a better deal on medications for low-income people on Medicare. Fifty-nine percent say that high-income seniors should have to pay higher Medicare premiums. Fifty-one percent oppose gradually raising the age of Medicare eligibility for from 65 to 67 – an idea that’s making the rounds in Washington. Sixty-one percent strongly oppose requiring all seniors to pay higher Medicare premiums. The poll also found a widespread view that Medicare cuts are not really needed; the public believes that there are better ways to reduce the deficit, such a reducing funding for foreign aid and reducing spending in Afghanistan.

For more information, visit http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/8405.cfm.

Last Updated 9/8/2017

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