Poll: 1 in 6 Florida voters support Medicaid expansion
Yet another survey, this one sponsored by the Florida Hospital Association and conducted by a Republican-leaning pollster, shows that the vast majority of Floridians want lawmakers to accept federal money to expand Medicaid.
The Times/Herald has received exclusive access to the results of the Public Opinion Strategies poll of 600 Florida voters between January 15 and 17 (margin of error +/- 4 percent). Its results:
*62 percent said the state should accept the money to expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
*Nearly half of respondents, 49 percent, said they felt strongly about this.
*There is a partisan divide. Only 40 percent of Republicans said the state should expand Medicaid.
*Virtually every other demographic polled -- Hispanics, seniors, liberals -- resulted in a majority supporting the expansion.
*59 percent of people in the Tampa area want the state to accept the money, 47 percent of Tampa respondents said they feel strongly.
The overall results of this survey are very similar to another poll released last week by the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network. That poll of 982 registered voters found that 63 percent of Floridians wanted the state to accept the money to expand Medicaid and reduce the number of uninsured people.
Hospitals generally support the Medicaid expansion, as well as the wider health care law, because more people would have insurance and therefore be able to pay for the services they receive. However, Florida legislators and Gov. Rick Scott have said they are worried about the long term costs of adding 1 million people to the Medicaid rolls.
In addition to releasing the poll today, the Florida Hospital Association also announced the launch of The Florida Remedy, a campaign it is leading to influence lawmakers to support the Medicaid expansion.
“Floridians believe that everyone should have access to high quality, affordable health care, and this is a remedy the vast majority of voters support,” said Florida Hospital Association President Bruce Rueben via a news release. “We believe that our state can extend coverage while also protecting taxpayers through an approach we call 'The Florida Remedy.' ”
Under the Florida Remedy campaign, the state is urged to support the expansion now but vow to pull back if the federal government ever withdraws financial support. The campaign also ties the expansion debate into Florida's proposal to privatize Medicaid, which is awaiting federal approval.