Newswire : 69% of Alabama voters support Medicaid expansion, new poll finds

By Chris Sanders, Alabama Arise

Sixty-nine percent of Alabamians, including 64% of Republican voters, support expanding Medicaid when told about arguments for and against the idea, according to a poll released last week.
The poll, conducted for Cover Alabama in January by Cygnal, shows support for Medicaid expansion across all demographics, including age, gender, income, education and geography. Alabama Arise is a founding member of Cover Alabama.
The poll also reveals the popularity of various funding sources for Alabama’s required 10% match for Medicaid expansion. Respondents expressed the most support for legalizing a state lottery and using part of the revenue to expand Medicaid. Proposed funding sources that won an overall majority or plurality of support were:
• Legalizing a state lottery.
• Increasing the state tobacco tax.
• Legalizing and taxing medical marijuana.
• Eliminating the federal income tax deduction for state income taxes.
Growing support and growing opportunities to expand coverage
Participants responded strongly when informed that more than 5,000 veterans (and 8,000 of their family members) do not have health coverage in Alabama. A full 70% of respondents were more likely to support expanding Medicaid when presented with that information. Respondents also were more likely to support expansion when informed that Alabama taxpayers have paid $4 billion in federal taxes since 2014 to help support Medicaid expansion in other states.
Both Republican and Democratic respondents were more likely to support Medicaid expansion with increased financial support from the federal government. The Amertican Rescue Plan, President Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan to respond to the coronavirus, currently being debated in Congress, would offer a dramatic increase in federal incentives for states like Alabama to expand Medicaid. If enacted, the legislation would provide an additional $940 million in federal money to Alabama over two years if the state expanded Medicaid. Medicaid expansion would benefit more than 340,000 Alabamians who are uninsured or struggling to afford coverage.
The overwhelming polling support reflects an ever-growing group of individuals, organizations and businesses that support expanding Medicaid in Alabama. This group includes the Alabama Hospital Association, the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Alabama Department of Health’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee, the Medical Association of the State of Alabama and 100 nonprofits, faith-based groups and medical advocacy organizations in Alabama.

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