Study shows support for Medicaid

According to several recent surveys, health care is a priority issue for Americans, right up there with jobs and the economy. Now, a national survey, conducted by Providence St. Joseph Health, drills down even further to find out what the public thinks about one health care topic in particular: Medicaid.

The latest research provides valuable insights for lawmakers as they consider the future of Medicaid. The key takeaway: While many Americans don’t fully understand Medicaid, once they learn more about it, they overwhelmingly support it.

The research found that:

  • 87 percent of respondents are aware of Medicaid, but 61 percent find it confusing.
  • After reading a description of the program, 90 percent said they believe Medicaid is important.
  • More than half of the respondents said they are or were covered by Medicaid or have a friend or loved one who is.
  • 77 percent said it’s very important that everyone has access to health care.

The findings speak to the need to raise awareness about the program, which covers one in five Americans. This includes nearly half of all babies born, 60 percent of seniors in nursing homes, many of our nation’s veterans, as well as individuals struggling with opioid addiction and mental health issues. 

In other words, these are our children, parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends and colleagues. To make matters even more confusing, many Americans may be covered by Medicaid and not even realize it because the program goes by different names in different states.

Medicaid has served as a vital safety net since it was signed into law in 1965, along with Medicare, as part of the Social Security Act. There’s plenty of room to improve the program, and Providence St. Joseph Health is pursuing innovative ways to provide the best care in the right setting for this population. At the same time, it’s important for everyone to know what this program does and who it covers, because it affects so many of us.

Here are a few resources to help you get familiar with the program and how it serves as a lifeline for millions who would not have access to health care otherwise:

About the Author

Rod Hochman

Rod Hochman is president and CEO of Providence St. Joseph Health, a national, Catholic, not-for-profit health system, comprising a diverse family of organizations serving Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

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