By now, you have probably seen the results of our February poll concerning the attitude of Kansas voters toward expanding the KanCare program. This survey showed continued support for the idea of expanding the Kansas Medicaid program to extend health care coverage under KanCare to include approximately 150,000 individuals earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level. This support (62 percent) has remained consistent over the last two years.
However, beyond that basic result are more interesting, and perhaps instructive, findings. First, after learning that a new budget-neutral program would require beneficiaries to meet legal residency and work-status requirements and pay a portion of their own health care costs, there was a 14-point increase in support and a nine-point decrease in opposition. Seventy-six percent expressed support, 20 percent were not supportive, and four percent were not sure. Among Republicans, support ranged from 74 to 77 percent when eligibility requirements were explained; among Independents, support reached 82 percent; and among Democrats, support was 71-74 percent.
Similarly, 72 percent of the Kansas residents surveyed expressed support after learning The Bridge to a Healthy Kansas expansion proposal is not Obamacare, but rather, a unique, budget-neutral solution that will not require the use of State General Funds and will likely produce a net financial gain for Kansas.
Finally, even though healthcare providers and those following the Kansas legislative session hear about the issue on a regular basis, the general voting public has not. According to our poll results, a majority of Kansas voters have heard "not much" or "nothing" about the debate over KanCare expansion.
The bottom line is that support for KanCare expansion is high across the state and across age, gender and party lines. In fact, that support grows the more informed individuals are about the issue. However, we still have much work to do to educate the public about KanCare expansion, and why encouraging lawmakers to support it is equivalent to encouraging support for access to health care in their local community. Polling results and supplementary graphs can be found on the KHA website at www.kha-net.org.