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By Joan Alker, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families

One of the least often discussed provisions of the Affordable Care Act continues to be one of the most popular according to the latest Kaiser Health News tracking poll.

Seventy percent of those responding to the poll thought favorably about the ACA provision to expand Medicaid to more low-income uninsured adults. That's right up there with the much heralded market reform provisions to eliminate pre-existing condition discrimination (69%). It's more popular than the provision that requires insurance companies that spend too little on health care services and too much on administrative costs and profits to give their customers a rebate (51%).

These polling results are consistent with others that have found Medicaid to be a popular public program. Last September, a Bloomberg poll found that cutting Medicaid was the least popular option for cutting the deficit with 72% opposed.

With all the Medicaid bashing that has been going on lately, why does Medicaid continue to be popular with the general public?

Here are a few good reasons:

  • Medicaid does not discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions. In fact, those who have been turned down by private insurers due to pre-existing conditions in the past often turned to Medicaid for help.
  • Medicaid is cost-effective and spends less on administrative costs than private health insurance plans.
  • Medicaid provides comprehensive coverage that includes the definitive standard of care recommended by pediatricians known as Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT).

With a solid track record like that, it's no wonder so many are able to see through the rhetoric and continue to support Medicaid. Needless to say, Medicaid receives far more favorable approval ratings than some of those who continue to unfairly criticize the program.

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