Support for Medicaid expansion ballot proposal inches upward in latest survey

Support for a ballot initiative to fully expand Medicaid in Utah under the Affordable Care Act has ticked up slightly according to a new poll.

The latest survey finds 61% of Utahns say they support a ballot proposal to expand Medicaid coverage to Utahns earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level. 34% say they are opposed, while 6% don’t know. 

That support is two-points higher than a November poll that found 59% of Utahns supporting the citizen initiative and 36% opposed.

The Medicaid expansion ballot initiative raises the state sales tax from 4.7 to 4.85% to help pay for the expansion.


On Tuesday, Gov. Gary Herbert signed a more limited Medicaid expansion passed by the 2018 legislature into law. HB472 would cover Utahns earning up to 100% of the federal poverty level, plus impose enrollment caps and limit what the state would spend on Medicaid expansion. The bill also has work or training requirements for recipients.  

The bill passed by lawmakers on the final day of the 2018 session would need waivers from the Trump administration to get around the Affordable Care Act, which is not for certain.

Utahns are much more in favor of this limited expansion. A poll from February found 68% of Utahns favored the work requirements and spending/enrollment caps like those in HB472.

It’s not for sure that the full Medicaid expansion proposal will even make the 2018 ballot in November. As first reported on Monday, the backers of the initiative have turned in less than 40,000 verified signatures. They need more than 113,000 to qualify for the ballot, but they must also get signatures equalling 10% of the vote in the last presidential election in 26 of 29 Senate districts. So far, they’ve reached that threshold in just three districts.

Republican voters in Utah are split on the expanded Medicaid ballot initiative, while Democrats and independent voters are solidly in favor.

  • 46% of Republicans favor the initiative, and 47% are opposed.
  • 89% of Utah Democrats favor the full expansion ballot proposal.
  • 70% of unaffiliated voters support the ballot initiative.

The Dan Jones & Associates survey was conducted February 9-16, 2018 among 609 registered Utah voters with a margin of error of 4%.