Wed Sep 17 23:03:17 PDT 2014
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Poll: Virginia Voters Support Medicaid Expansion but Worry About Cost

Sept. 17, 2014 A new poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University finds 61 percent of Virginia voters support expanding Medicaid to cover more Virginians who lack health insurance. However, almost half of the voters polled worry that the federal government might not pay its share. “Virginia voters continue to be pulled in two directions,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center. “Most support the general idea of Medicaid expansion, but many are worried by concerns expressed by opponents as well.” Asked whether they shared opponents’ concern that the federal government would not cover its part of the cost, voters were divided, with 48 percent worried and 45 percent not worried. The survey also asked voters if they would support or oppose an alternative proposed by Delegate Tom Rust, R-Herndon, which would use Virginia’s share of federal funds from the Affordable Care Act to pay for private insurance coverage for low-income Virginians not already covered by Medicaid. Voters supported the proposal, 49 percent to 39 percent. Governor Terry McAuliffe announced his support on Wednesday. By 58 percent to 33 percent, voters also said they support Gov. McAuliffe’s limited plan to provide health coverage for an additional 25,000 people with severe mental illness and children of low-income state employees. Three out of four voters said they are paying attention to the debate, but 54 percent said they are pessimistic that Republicans and Democrats will reach agreement in the special session that convenes on Thursday. Only 15 percent were optimistic about the session. “The bar is pretty low,” said Kidd. “The General Assembly could come out of this special session having accomplished nothing on Medicaid, and they wouldn’t defy the expectations of many voters.” The Wason Center interviewed 796 registered Virginia voters, Sept. 9-15, 2014. The margin of error for the whole survey is +/- 3.5 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

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