Most Utahns favor a citizen initiative petition that would require the state to expand Medicaid (health aid for the poor/low-income), a new UtahPolicy.com poll finds.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates in a new survey has support for fully expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act at 59 percent.
About a third, 36 percent, oppose Medicaid expansion, while 4 percent don’t know.
You can read the Utahns Decide Healthcare petition here.
Medicaid expansion has been a battle before the Utah Legislature since 2014.
You may recall that GOP Gov. Gary Herbert put forward his Healthy Utah expansion plan first.
The Utah Senate passed it several years ago.
But the Republican-controlled House refused to go along.
In time, the House forced its own Medicaid expansion on both the Senate and governor – one that covered far fewer people, but cost the state less.
But over a year passed before the federal government gave Utah its needed waivers – finally coming this past Fall, just in time for many of the homeless to qualify for Medicaid expansion.
Republican President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled U.S. Congress failed to repeal Obamacare (the ACA).
And a citizen group started a citizen initiative here in Utah that would require the state to take full advantage of Medicaid expansion.
To pay for the state’s share of the larger program (something conservative GOP state House members refused to go along with), the initiative would raise the state sales tax from 4.7 percent to 4.85 percent – or a 3.1 percent increase.
Here are some of Jones’ numbers:
Women like increasing health benefits for the poor more than do men, 56 to 62 percent, respectively.
Republicans actually oppose the petition, 48-46 percent.
Democrats really like the idea, 93-7 percent.
While political independents support it, 62-33 percent.
Those who told Jones they are “very conservative” politically oppose Medicaid expansion, 60-35 percent.
But all other political groups favor it: “Somewhat conservative,” 54-41 percent; “moderates,” 72-24 percent; “somewhat liberal,” 86-15 percent; and “very liberal,” 100 percent.
Mormons are instructed to be charitable to the poor and needy.
Jones finds that “very active” Mormons support the petition, 51-43 percent.
All other religious breakdowns in the survey support the initiative by greater majorities than that.
And those who said they have no religion support the petition, 76-22 percent.
Jones polled 600 adults from Nov. 16-21. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.