Most Missourians support Medicaid expansion and believe the state government has a responsibility to ensure access to affordable health care, according to a new survey by the Missouri Foundation for Health.
What's particularly noteworthy about this survey is that a majority of the responders agreed this is a responsibility that must be met, even if it means raising taxes. 55 percent of responders say Missouri's state government must act to do so, while 34 percent say we can't afford it.
"We see voters ready to take some pretty drastic action, even if it costs them a little something," Brian Nienaber said. Nienaber is vice president of the Tarrance Group, who helped conduct the survey. "They are willing to see the state legislature take a bold action to ensure that voters get affordable health insurance."
Medicaid expansion has and will continue to be a contentious and divisive issue in the state legislature. Under a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, each state can decide whether to enact the Medicaid expansion called for under President Barack Obama's health care law. The federal government pays the full cost starting in 2014, but states must begin paying a 5 percent share in 2017 that gradually increases to 10 percent by 2020.
Democratic Governor Jay Nixon recently came out in favor of expansion, saying it's "the right thing to do." But with a veto-proof majority in the state legislature, Nixon will have his work cut out for him. Missouri Speaker of the House of Representatives Tim Jones has already said it'll be too expensive in the future.
Missourians still oppose the Affordable Care Act, but less so than before. In 2010, 52 percent were opposed. Now it's down to 46 percent.
The survey was conducted in mid to late October, and reached over 1,400 registered voters.
Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel
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