Most want Medicaid expansion

With all the back and forth between advocates and opponents of Medicaid expansion, little attention has been paid to public opinion.

And, if there’s anything that’s clear as can be, it’s that Americans support strong funding for Medicare and Medicaid.

Now, people remain split about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in general. And when asked about specific elements of the ACA, they don’t tend to like the individual mandate.

But, as this chart from Kaiser Health shows, a strong majority — 71% — supports expanding Medicaid.

To get 71% support is quite strong. There’s 70% support from Independents and 88% from Democrats.

While only 42% of Republicans support Medicaid expansion, that is double the numbers of Republicans who support the individual mandate.

Now, this is a national poll, not one done in Maine. But I’ve noticed over the years that Maine opinion tends to be pretty close to what’s seen in national data. This has been true even in hot-button issues like gun control.

Even more, Maine has a strong history of expanding access to health care through state policy. As a result, Maine has been an enormous success in actually reducing the numbers of uninsured even as nationally those numbers soared.

Thus, it’s highly likely that Mainers want Medicaid to be expanded.

Perhaps this is why Gov. LePage put out a proposal that, for those not looking closely at the details (which are wholly unserious), could have looked like he was open to it, too.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.