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Poll Shows Voters Disagree With Medicaid Work Rules

A new Medicaid work requirement announced by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin will affect an estimated 350,000 adults. (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)
A new Medicaid work requirement announced by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin will affect an estimated 350,000 adults. (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)
January 16, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky will be phasing in a rule saying people who get Medicaid have to work if they can - but a new national poll suggests voters could see that as part of a very unpopular pattern.

A new national poll finds three-quarters of voters agree - and half agree strongly - that Republicans are waging a "war on health care."

Geoff Garin is the president of Hart Research, which ran the January poll of 1,000 2016 voters for the health-care advocacy group, Protect Our Care. He says voters see a pattern starting with attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and notice moves to cut Medicare and Medicaid.

"The Republicans have made it very believable that there is such a thing as a Republican war on health care today," he says. "And every day they continue their assaults on health care and do new things, this will be given more credence."

House Speaker Paul Ryan has called steps like this "welfare reform," necessary to reduce the deficit. His critics point out this is coming just after a $1.5 trillion tax cut that mostly benefits the wealthy and big corporations.

Garin says nationally, voters already have a strong sense that GOP health-care policies are deeply unfair.

"Targeting both Medicare and Medicaid for cuts in order to offset the cost of their tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations, Republicans have put a very big target on their backs," he warns.

The new Medicaid work requirement will impact about 350,000 Kentucky adults, half of whom already work. Certain groups including full-time students, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions will be exempt.

The Center for American Progress estimates work requirements would block benefits for more than six million, nationally.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - KY