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After their victory with the tax bill, Republican leaders in the House have said they will go after entitlement and "welfare" spending, with both Medicare and Medicaid potentially on the table.

What to watch: Republicans aren't making any connection to the $1.4 trillion the tax cuts will add to the deficit, but Democrats are sure to make the connection for them — that any reductions in Medicare and Medicaid spending would be used to pay for the tax cuts.

Expand chart
Reproduced from the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll

The impact: Generally, Republicans are for a smaller federal role in health and less federal spending. But our recent polling suggests that if the new push to rein in federal health spending is viewed as a way to pay for tax cuts, it won't just be Democrats and independents who oppose it. Republicans will, too.

The details: As the chart shows, more than 70 percent of Republicans and independents oppose reducing federal spending on Medicare to pay for tax cuts, and 72 percent of independents and 61 percent of Republicans oppose reducing federal spending on Medicaid to pay for the tax cuts.

And that's before specific proposals are put on the table to reduce spending which are sure to be dissected by the media and targeted by critics, such as premium support plans for Medicare or a per capita cap or block grant for Medicaid.

The big picture: Republican advocates of what they call entitlement reform have long been concerned about the growing share of the federal budget consumed by Medicare and Medicaid, and may believe they can capitalize on the momentum from passing tax reform and take on entitlements and federal health programs next. But cutting Medicaid and Medicare spending growth has always been a high hill to climb, and it's not like the GOP's past efforts have gone over well outside the Republican base.

The bottom line: The polling suggests that if the public comes to view the next round of entitlement "reform" as a way to pay for the tax cuts, that hill will get steeper and even the Republican base may not support the effort.

Go deeper

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.