The media continues to spin the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion success narrative, but truth doesn’t follow a fictitious story line.
Our Senior Research Fellow Josh Archambault recently wrote an op-ed for Forbes highlighting Washington’s failure to stay up to date with what Americans really like and do not like about Obama’s health care law.
The latest Wason Center at Christopher Newport University poll indicates 53 percent of Virginia’s voters are against Medicaid expansion, in spite of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s efforts to persuade voters to take the “free money” bait from DC. They also aren’t so quick to accept the false premise that Medicaid helps the poor or disadvantaged.
The poll also indicates whenever there’s a debate over the successes and failures of the Medicaid expansion program, voters tend to pay close attention and look for better ways to become involved. According to the official numbers, 58 percent of Virginia voters claimed to have watched the debate closely.
As elections near, Republicans would be wise to look at the highly targeted and coveted Independent voter. A look into the latest poll shows that Independents are beginning to align with conservatives on this issue, and are far more likely to oppose expansion. At least 55 percent of Independents in Virginia now are against the program, as opposed to 35 percent when another poll was carried out in February of 2014.
Minorities are also moving on the issue. According to Archambault:
“while a majority still support expansion, there was a 22 percent point decrease in support among African American voters between surveys.”
You may think this sounds like an insignificant number compared to the favorability rating, but it’s worth noting, “this represents the largest increase in opposition (by percentage change) of any group polled”.
Liberals in Virginia are also beginning to move on this issue. Comparison between the February poll and the most recent poll shows that the rate of liberals in the state who support expansion dropped 4 percent.
In February, the survey found expansion would suffer a loss in support if the federal government fails to honor its promise to fund the Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Since then, we have learned that Sebelius has proposed a cut to funding in states that are not able to process all new Medicaid entries, making it effortlessly easy to prove how bad Washington is when it comes to honoring previous commitments.
As the battle to stop Medicaid expansion continues across the country, legislators and candidates would be wise to look at the findings from this poll as well as to states such as Washington and Arkansas. They’ll find ample reasons to work toward Medicaid reform instead of putting more taxpayers on the hook to pay for a failed system.