Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget plan is wildly unpopular—especially its provision to end Medicare as we know it. That proposal was resoundingly rejected in the recent special election to fill the NY-26 House seat. But 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.
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.
Conservatives have another thing coming if they think they can improve their fortunes by changing the subject to the non-Medicare parts of their budget plan.
Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis, go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.