Medicaid expansion not that popular
A majority of Virginians oppose using federal Medicaid funds to expand health coverage, according to a new poll that finds public opinion has rapidly soured on Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s top priority.They are resisting the sucker play the Democrats have set up to get states hooked on Medicaid expansion before they cut funding on the federal level. This shows how really unpopular Obamacare is, even in areas that have elected Democrats.
The Wason Center at Christopher Newport University poll found that 53 percent of the state’s voters oppose enrolling more Virginians in the federal-state health program for the poor, a sharp reversal from February, when the center found that 56 percent backed expansion.
McAuliffe (D) and a slim majority of the evenly divided state Senate have pushed this year to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, saying it would provide insurance to up to 400,000 needy Virginians and boost the economy. The Republican-dominated House has opposed expansion, raising doubts about the federal government’s ability to pay most of the $2 billion-a-year cost and stressing the need to first rein in the existing Medicaid program.
“Democrats are losing the debate on expanding Medicaid in Virginia,” Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center, said in a written statement. “This is mostly because they are not convincing Independents that it’s a good idea. But even in the usually friendly territory of Northern Virginia, the debate is not going their way.”
Support for expansion is highest in liberal-leaning Northern Virginia, but even there, it leads opposition by only 2 percentage points — 49 percent to 47 percent.