By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought economic struggles to households along with the choice by some to delay or skip accessing health care. Physical and mental health, views on Medicaid cuts, Medicare, the need for Medicaid access, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), were also explored in a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Health. In the poll, taken in the second week of May 2020, 48 percent of respondents said that someone in their family skipped or delayed getting some type of medical care because of the pandemic. Of those, 11 percent said that the family member’s condition worsened. However, 68 percent of those who said care was skipped or delayed, also said that the family member expects to get care in the next three months. Most of those polled, 86 percent, said that their physical health stayed around the same since March. Sadly, worry and stress have had a negative impact on the mental health of about one in four (39 percent), according to the poll.
Medicaid. The overwhelming majority (74 percent) oppose Medicaid cuts to address state budget shortfalls that resulted from the pandemic. The sentiment seems to cross party lines with most Democrats (85 percent), most Independents (73 percent), and most Republicans (62 percent), saying that they are against reducing Medicaid spending. The need for Medicaid is expected to rise and 23 percent of those polled (and who were not currently on Medicaid) indicated the belief that they or a family member will turn to the program next year.
Medicaid has been expanded by most states under the ACA to cover low-income adults who do not have children. In the 14 states where it has not expanded, the poll found that the majority (68 percent) of residents were in favor of their states expanding Medicare to cover more low-income uninsured people, and 32 percent stated that they want Medicaid to stay as-is in their state.
Medicare-for-all or public option. While the majority of the public supports both the Medicare-for-all and the public option approaches, more people continued to state that they favor a public option (68 percent) than to state that they favor Medicare-for-all (56 percent). Those numbers are the same as they were in January, before coronavirus was of large concern. On the ACA, 51 percent hold a favorable view towards it, while 41 percent hold an unfavorable view, according to the poll. In January, the results were similar—53 percent favorable and 39 percent unfavorable.
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