Most Americans want Medicaid to stay 'as is,' survey finds

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Make therapy caps lower, streamline review process, MedPAC chairman urges House committee
Make therapy caps lower, streamline review process, MedPAC chairman urges House committee

Close to 60% of Americans do not want Congress to change the federal-state Medicaid program for low-income individuals, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

In April, House Republicans voted for Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) 2012 budget, which proposed converting Medicaid to a federal block grant program. Under this system, states would be allocated a fixed amount of money, letting them determine coverage. Ryan's budget also included provisions that would have made significant changes to Medicare. Ultimately, as expected, the U.S. Senate rejected Ryan's proposed budget Wednesday in a 40-57 vote against it.

Republicans argue changes to Medicaid would cut federal spending by $1 trillion in 10 years. Democrats countered that such a plan would leave too many vulnerable Americans uninsured and shift costs to the elderly. Medicaid covers two-thirds of nursing home residents.

The Kaiser telephone poll found that 79% of Democrats and 29% of Republicans preferred keeping Medicaid in its current format. The survey also reveals that Americans' support of Medicaid is similar to that of Social Security and Medicare. Surveyors said support for the program often comes down to whether a person has a friend or family member that receives Medicaid.