Even in Texas? Support for Medicaid expansion and other Obamacare elements

Could it be? Texans like parts of Obamacare?

Texas is a conservative, Republican state with a conservative, Republican state legislature and a conservative, Republican governor.

A whopping 25% of Texans lack health insurance, the highest rate in the country, but Gov. Perry has refused to expand Medicaid and to set up a state exchange. He’s gone beyond those steps, which Maine’s Gov. LePage has also taken, to make it harder for navigators to help the uninsured sign up.

And when Texans are asked if they support the Obamacare, support is low. 46% are very unfavorable and 8% are unfavorable, adding up to 54% who are unfavorable to some extent. This contrasts with 15% highly favorable and 18% favorable, for a total of 33% favorable at some level.

But, like many other places, Texans support many elements of the law.

In fact, as this graph shows, support is strikingly high for particular parts of the Affordable Care Act.


True, many Texans do not support fining businesses that don’t provide insurance. 32% strongly oppose this and 11% somewhat oppose it. But actually, more support it to some extent; 26% strongly support it and 23% somewhat support doing so. This adds up to 49% support-43% oppose.

And many other elements shown in the graph have much higher rates of support — letting states expand Medicaid (67% support-27% oppose), business tax credits for getting insurance (75% support-18% oppose), subsidies for low-income people buying insurance (65% support-30% oppose) and allowing children to stay on insurance until age 26 (68% support-18% oppose).

The only part of Obamacare that most Texans oppose is the individual mandate. As the chart below shows, 54% strongly oppose this and 12% somewhat oppose it. Only 15% strongly support the mandate and 14% somewhat support it. And certainly this is a key element of the Affordable Care Act.

However, there is widespread support for other aspects of the law, even raising the Medicare payroll tax for people with incomes of over $200,000.

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University of Texas/Texas Tribune Survey. Fielded Oct 18-27, 2013. Full results can be seen at http://s3.amazonaws.com/static.texastribune.org/media/documents/uttt-201310-summary-3.pdf

Public opinion toward Obamacare is complicated, even in Texas.

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.