A SurveyUSA poll taken in January and made available this week by the Kansas Policy Institute shows that taxpayers are not automatically on board with Medicaid expansion in the state, once they’re told what it might cost.

“Citizens are often presented with a binary choice,” said Kansas Policy Institute President Dave Trabert. “In this case, if you want to make healthcare more affordable, well then, you have to expand Medicaid, or, if you care about people, then you have to expand Medicaid. The issue, really, is, how do we make healthcare more affordable and more accessible. We absolutely have to work on that problem. There are ways, and the legislature is actually looking at ways to do that. There’s things like making changes to association health care plans and changing what has to go into a short-term health care coverage insurance policy.”

Fifty-four percent of those surveyed don’t want to see Medicaid expanded.

“We always have these conversations about should we or shouldn’t we?” said Trabert. “The question always should be, if we do it, how will we pay for it? Because, we’re facing serious deficits. Only 17 percent said if we do it, we should pay for it with a tax increase on somebody.”

Trabert pushes back against those who would say that opposing such expansion, or other government spending, means you don’t care about the people that spending would help.

“Caring is one thing,” said Trabert. “How you pay for it is another. Kansas is facing massive deficits over the next few years, because we’re spending much more than record-setting tax revenues. That’s why Governor Kelly only wanted to look at one year in her budget proposal, because the outlying years show the ugly truth.”

The research department for the Kansas state legislature estimates that spending will exceed revenue estimates by about $600 million over the next two years. When asked what to do about it, 45 percent of the polls respondents said to cut spending.