A new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that a majority of Americans support the Obamacare provision that expands Medicaid coverage to an estimated 17 million low-income people, with 67 percent of Americans in favor of expanding Medicaid nationwide. Rising public support for the program is also reflected in the public hospital employees who have come out in strong favor of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion and the 16 Democratic governors who have already pledged to implement it in their states.
Kaiser found that broad support for the expansion dropped off when respondents were asked about the policy in their own state, mainly because “people had an exaggerated sense of the likelihood they would face a penalty in 2014 for not carrying insurance”:
However, the Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated that only one in 10 Americans will end up in the position of needing to choose between buying insurance or paying a penalty. Furthermore, the Obama administration will ensure that low-income Americans in states that have opted out of Medicaid expansion will not be penalized.
Outsized concern about the penalty that state residents may incur for not carrying insurance may stem from the Republican governors who are currently leading a crusade against Medicaid expansion in their states, despite the significant benefits to expanding the program. Republican governors in states including Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Louisiana have threatened to refuse the Medicaid expansion.