Most voters favor fully expanding Medicaid coverage to low-income Utahns

Utah Capitol 08

Most Utah voters want the state to fully expand Medicaid according to a new Utah Political Trends survey.

The poll from and Y2 Analytics finds 57% of Utah voters say they support fully expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. 39% oppose expanding Medicaid while 4% said they don’t know.

20191022 QMEDICAID Topline

In 2018, Utah voters approved Prop. 3, which fully expanded Medicaid by a 54-46 margin. Under full expansion, the federal government would pick up 90% of the cost while the state is responsible for 10%, but that requires the state to expand coverage to all low-income Utahns up to 138% of the federal poverty level. The proposition included a sales-tax increase to help cover the increased cost.

Utah lawmakers decided that sales tax increase would not be enough to cover the higher costs of full expansion and instead passed a scaled-back version that covered fewer low-income residents. The state also asked the Trump administration to give Utah the more favorable 90-10 cost split even though full expansion was not implemented. Earlier this summer that waiver request was denied as the Trump administration is currently challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act in federal court.

There’s a significant partisan divide in attitudes toward full Medicaid expansion. Republicans either oppose full expansion or are evenly divided on the issue, while independents and Democrats mostly favor full expansion.

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  • 65% of “strong” Republicans oppose full expansion.
  • Moderate Republicans are split, with 48% favoring full expansion and 47% opposing
  • 56% of independent voters who lean Republican oppose Medicaid expansion
  • Just over half of independent voters favor fully expanding Medicaid.
  • More than 90% of “strong” Democrats, moderate Democrats and independents who lean Democratic favor full expansion.

Full expansion of Medicaid is fairly popular across all four of Utah’s Congressional Districts, with Ben McAdams’ 4th District giving the idea the highest level of approval at 59%, with 37% disapproving. Voters in both CD 1 and 2 say they approve of expansion by a 58-37% margin. Voters in CD3 are a little more tepid on the idea in comparison, with 53% supporting expansion and 43% opposed.

Women voters feel much more favorable toward full expansion than men do. Women say they support fully expanding Medicaid by a 30-point margin (62-32%), while 53% of men support full expansion while 44% are opposed.

The Utah Political Trends survey was conducted September 25 to October 8, 2019, among 979 registered Utah voters. It has a margin of error of +/-3.1%. You can read more about our polling methodology here.