Politics

04.08.14

New Poll Shows Voters in Red States Want to Expand Medicaid

A core part of Obamacare is popular in states from Kansas to Georgia where Republicans are blocking it. They’ll pay come November.

Republicans desperately hoping to focus the nation on Obamacare’s failures are being stymied by facts. The Affordable Care Act hit its March 31 goal of 7 million enrolled in private insurance plans and 3 million more have signed up for coverage under Medicaid. Now, Republicans face stiff opposition from voters in states where they blocked Medicaid expansion. 

According to new polling by Public Policy Poling conducted for MoveOn, in voters support Medicaid expansion in key states by wide margins: 52 to 35 percent in Kansas, 58 to 33 percent in Florida, 59 to 30 percent in Pennsylvania, 54 to 38 percent in Georgia. All are states where Medicaid expansion has been blocked by Republican politicians.  In Virginia, where the GOP has also blocked Medicaid expansion, a previous poll found that even a majority of state Republican voters support extending coverage for the state’s low-income residents.  And other polls show that three-out-of-four Americans nationwide, including a majority of Republicans, support Medicaid expansion.  

Nevertheless, Republicans are actively, single-handedly blocking health coverage for 5 million Americans in 24 statesOne academic study suggests that of those 5 million, 10,000 Americans will die this year alone due to lack of insurance.  The Medicaid expansion is the law of the land, it’s already paid for, and 5 million more Americans would be getting coverage if Republican politicians hadn’t taken it away because of petty partisanship.  Largely because Republicans want to spite President Obama on a key piece of his namesake legislation, thousands of Americans may die. 

Largely because Republicans want to spite President Obama on a key piece of his namesake legislation, thousands of Americans may die.

Meanwhile Obamacare overall is getting more popular.  Already, the components of the law were incredibly well-received and polls showed that a significant percentage of people saying they “opposed” Obamacare actually think the law doesn’t go far enough—as in, they support an even more progressive solution.  Now, as the news comes that over 7 million Americans enrolled for insurance through the exchanges, polls show that even absolute support for Obamacare is on the rise. Obamacare is now not only more popular than President Obama (47 percent versus 46 percent favorability) but the law is wildly more popular than Congressional Republicans (only 18 percent favorability). 

And as the law’s positive effects continue to spread, running against Obamacare will be increasingly self-destructive.  Of course, that won’t stop the “kamikaze caucus.”  Witness John Boehner rushing to correct the record when Matt Drudge ran a story about Republicans working to expand Obamacare.  Republicans apparently don’t want the American people even wrongly thinking their party is actually trying get people more coverage and care. 

The take-away for voters is clear: Democrats are actively working to provide affordable care and insurance to Americans, while Republicans are actively working to deny coverage to Americans by restricting Medicaid and attacking Obamacare in general.  Polls show Republicans are already on the losing side of this issue.  As voters hear more and more stories of Americans able to afford a heart transplant or get their cancer detected early thanks to Obamacare, versus stories about rural hospitals closing and Americans not getting care they need because Republicans blocked Medicaid expansion, voters will even more emphatically support the Democrats. 

Nationally, some projections show Republicans may keep the House of Representatives and take the Senate this fall, though the pain for rejecting Medicaid expansion may be most acute in state elections, as suggested by Republicans like governors John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Snyder of Michigan who are both up for re-election and backed expansion in their states.  Either way, it’s too early for decisive prognostications.  November is still far off and a lot can happen between now and then—on a number of issues. But in terms of Obamacare, the landscape will just keep getting better for Democrats as petty, partisan Republican obstructionists continue to keep hurting themselves—and their poor constituents.