A new poll reveals more than three-quarters of Republicans oppose using taxpayer money to provide Medicaid to able-bodied, working adults. Pollsters told 550 registered Republican voters that Medicaid currently covers children, pregnant women, the disabled and the elderly, but Medicaid expansion would give the welfare benefit to able-bodied, working-age adults whether they choose to work or not. They then asked respondents whether they supported expansion, and 76.5 percent said they are opposed.

Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita

The poll’s outcome stands in stark contrast to other polls on Medicaid expansion. For instance, a 2017 poll showed that 60 percent of Republicans supported expanding Medicaid. That poll didn’t use the term “able-bodied” and instead used “non-disabled adults.” 

Kansas House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins commissioned the latest poll because earlier polls haven’t given voters all of the information about expansion. His survey, conducted this month, also showed that 66 percent of those polled oppose expansion if it would lead to cost over-runs and budget deficits.

Hawkins said he was tired of pollsters asking individuals about expanding Medicaid without providing information about who the program would actually cover and how much it would cost. In his travels across the state, Hawkins said he regularly meets people who initially support expansion believing it will cover the elderly, the disabled and children.

“They are already covered,” Hawkins says. People are surprised when they learn that. He explains that expansion provides a taxpayer-funded welfare benefit to a brand new segment of the population — childless, able-bodied adults between the ages of 19-64.

“People don’t know that, because they only know what the media has given them,” he said. “The media moves the agenda along for the Medicaid expansion advocates. I’m determined to get the other side out. It’s waking some people up.”

Hawkins sent the poll results to members of the House Republican caucus. He drew immediate anger from some Republicans who have supported expansion efforts.

“They’re saying all I pointed out were the negatives,” Hawkins said. “No, I pointed out facts.”

For instance, surveyors told respondents that Medicaid expansion laws in other states have led to cost-overruns. On average, overruns were 49 percent higher than projections, triggering budget deficits and tax increases. The poll also asked Republican voters whether a candidate who supported Medicaid expansion was more or less likely to earn their votes. Almost 54 percent of those polled said they would vote against a candidate for the legislature who supported expansion.

The poll surveyed 550 Republican voters and has a 4.3 percent margin of error.

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