Statewide Survey Shows Underwhelming Support for Expanding Medicaid in Michigan

Statewide Survey Shows Underwhelming Support for Expanding Medicaid in Michigan

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Ted O’Neil
Media Relations Manager

MIDLAND — Some 65 percent of active Michigan voters believe Michigan should not expand Medicaid under Obamacare because taxpayers cannot rely on the federal government to pay its share of the increased costs that would come with adding new recipients, according to a survey conducted by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Liberty Foundation of America.

The statewide poll of 507 active voters was conducted April 7 and 8 by Hill Research Associates and has an error margin of +/- 4.4 percent.

Several legislators and the White House are pushing to expand Medicaid in Michigan with the promise that the federal government will pay 100 percent of the additional cost for new enrollees for three years, then decrease that through 2020 until the state budget becomes responsible for paying 10 percent of the cost.

Another 61 percent of respondents said it was a “convincing argument” not to expand Medicaid because it would “allow too many able-bodied young people to get insurance, even if they just chose not to work to provide for their own health care needs.”

“Hardly a week goes by without new reports from Washington of Obamacare implementation glitches, delays and unanswered questions, indicating the law is still highly vulnerable,” Senior Legislative Analyst Jack McHugh told Michigan Capitol Confidential. “In addition, there’s abundant evidence that optional Medicaid expansion will impose much higher future costs on Michigan taxpayers than proponents acknowledge.”

McHugh has written about this issue extensively, pointing out the budget trap that could befall Michigan taxpayers and the problems the state could face if it makes the wrong decision.

“The public senses these things and has logically concluded that the expansion simply doesn’t make sense for Michigan at this time,” McHugh added.

Some 77 percent of respondents to the survey agreed that the state should not rush into the Medicaid expansion because there are too many unknown variables at this point. Almost 80 percent said they would enroll in Medicaid if they were “uninsured, needed health care and were qualified” to participate. But only 3 percent think Michigan’s Medicaid program is “honest;” 17 percent said it was “competent” and just 10 percent said it was “efficient.”

Only half of the respondents favor expanding Medicaid “to all uninsured state residents with household income levels up to 138 percent of the poverty level.” Gov. Snyder’s plan would expand Medicaid for those up to 133 percent of the poverty level. When told of the potential impact the expansion could have, support drops to 47 percent.

“When you ask people if the federal government should cut spending, people say yes, but when you start selecting programs to cut they say no,” Matt Mayer of the Liberty Foundation told Capital Confidential. “It’s the same here. In the abstract, sure they want to expand Medicaid. But when people learn about the potential effects, their opinions change.”

One-third of the respondents identified themselves as Democrats, while 29 percent identified themselves as independents and 24 percent said they were Republicans. Only 10 percent of those surveyed said they see health care as a top priority in Michigan.

The Mackinac Center is hosting Avik Roy, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute and national expert on health care policy analysis, for an Issues & Ideas Forum on Medicaid expansion at noon on Thursday at the Michigan Restaurant Association in Lansing.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich. The largest state-based free-market think tank in the country celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.


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