April 9, 2013   A new national survey sponsored by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and the National Women’s Law Center shows strong support among adults 18 and older for their states to accept federal dollars that have been allocated to cover more uninsured people through Medicaid.  The survey, conducted March 15-19, 2013 among 1,016 adults 18 and older, has a margin of error of + 4 percentage points.

The survey reinforces findings from numerous state polls that show widespread public support for state elected officials to accept federal funds allocated by the Affordable Care Act to cover more people through Medicaid.   In addition, the survey demonstrates that a majority of the public would be concerned if their state turns down the federal dollars.  Specifically, when they learn that some lower-income people could fall into a “coverage gap” without affordable health coverage options if their state turns down the funds – while higher income people will be eligible for new tax credits to buy insurance on the health exchanges – most feel this is a good reason for their state to accept the federal dollars.  Key findings include:

  • By a ratio of 3 to 1, survey respondents want their state to accept the federal money and cover more people through Medicaid:  62% say their state should accept the federal dollars, while only 19% say their state should turn the money down (17% are neutral).
  • After hearing arguments on both sides, two-thirds of survey respondents still want their state to accept the federal money:  67% want their state to accept the money so that more people can get preventive care and stay out of hospital emergency rooms while 31% want their state to turn down the money in order to avoid increases in government spending.
  • Most survey respondents are concerned about the “coverage gap” that will occur if their state turns down the federal money and believe that avoiding this gap is a good reason for their state to accept the federal money:  When they learn that some people could be left without new affordable health coverage options if their state turns down the federal money (i.e. the “coverage gap”):
    • 74% of survey respondents say they are concerned about the coverage gap;
    • 70% of survey respondents say avoiding the coverage gap is a good reason for their state to accept the federal money; and
    • More than one-quarter (27%) believes they are at personal risk of falling into this coverage gap.
  • Most survey respondents are personally affected by their state’s decision:  More than half (55%) say they have a close friend or family member who is uninsured.
  • There is broad support for states accepting the federal money and covering more uninsured people through Medicaid.  Across gender, race and ethnicity, and region of the country there is more support for accepting the federal money than there is for turning it down.

Detailed findings can be found in the PDF below.

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