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Majority of Americans Oppose Cutting Medicaid to Balance Federal Budget

Four out of five Americans oppose cutting Medicaid to reduce the federal debt, according to a poll released today by AARP.

AARP, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of Children's Hospitals, and March of Dimes, cited the poll findings in urging Congress to remove Medicaid cuts from the pending budget resolution.

"This is a clear message that arbitrary Medicaid cuts should not be included in the agreement now being worked on by House and Senate budget conferees," said AARP CEO Bill Novelli.

Federal Medicaid cuts are "strongly" opposed by 60 percent of Americans, according to the AARP Medicaid poll. A majority of those surveyed - 57 percent - say that their state Medicaid program does not have enough money to pay for health and long term care provided by Medicaid. And an even larger majority - 75 percent - opposes one of the primary proposals for cutting Medicaid, an extension of the "look back" period for asset transfers to family members and charities. People who have made such transfers can be denied Medicaid coverage. The poll, a telephone survey of 1011 adults, was conducted from April 20 to April 24 and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.

AARP, the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of Children's Hospitals, and March of Dimes recognize that change is needed for Medicaid to be as effective and efficient as possible. But they stress that this critical safety net is too important for that change to be driven by arbitrary budget targets.

That is why the four organizations, representing children, the disabled, and older Americans who rely on Medicaid, all support efforts to remove Medicaid cuts from the budget resolution and instead establish a Bipartisan Medicaid Commission to develop sound policies that will produce real efficiencies. If carefully balanced and given adequate time and resources, such a commission can find ways to ensure that Medicaid is efficient, strong and protects all generations. The four groups deeply appreciate the bipartisan leadership of several House and Senate members in trying to persuade Congress that policy, not budget, should be driving the future of Medicaid.

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