Wednesday January 23, 2013
Polling Shows Strong Public Support for Accepting Federal Funds to Increase Access to Care Through Medicaid
As you might remember, when the Supreme Court ruled in June to preserve critical patient protections in the Affordable Care Act, it also ruled that the law cannot require states to expand their Medicaid programs. It’s up to each state to make the decision for itself. Since the ruling by the high court, a geographic mix of states have been wrestling with the decision of whether to make health coverage under Medicaid available to individuals and families under 133 percent of the federal poverty level, as urged by the ACA.
Thousands of cancer patients who are uninsured rely on Medicaid coverage for lifesaving prevention services and treatment that they would otherwise not be able to afford. We’re hopeful that states still grappling with the decision will recognize the significant impact that expanding the number of people who can receive Medicaid coverage would have on low-income people suffering from serious illnesses such as cancer.
That’s why ACS CAN conducted a poll in key states across the country to find out how the public feels about this issue. The results released today show that registered voters in these key states – Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico and Texas – want their state to accept federal funds that are available to broaden access to health coverage through Medicaid.
Specifically, we informed participants that federal funds are available to pay 100 percent of the costs to cover more uninsured people through Medicaid beginning in 2014, with the federal share gradually decreasing to 90 percent by 2020. The results show voters are two to three times more likely to support accepting federal dollars to cover more people than they are to prefer turning down federal funds and leaving vulnerable populations uninsured. Furthermore, support for accepting federal funds spanned across all demographics, except for self-identified Republicans in five states, who are split on the issue.
You can read more about the results, including the reactions of respondents to common arguments for and against accepting federal funds, here. But what I hope you take away from this post is that broadening access to Medicaid coverage will save lives and reduce health care costs – and now we know there is strong public support across the country for states to use available federal dollars to do just that. We plan to share this data with ACS CAN staff, partner organizations, the media and lawmakers across the country as a tool to encourage states to make the right choice.