This week's Utah Policy shows that most Utahns really don't know much about Gov. Gary Herbert's "Healthy Utah" alternative to Medicaid expansion.
The poll, conducted for us by Dan Jones and Associates, finds that when Utahns find out what's contained in Healthy Utah and Medicaid expansion, they support both options - but show more support for Herbert's plan.
At first, we simply tried to gauge how much Utahns know about Herbert's plan, which he's currently negotiating with the federal government as an alternative to Medicaid expansion. A majority of Utahns (56%) tell us they haven't heard of it.
Digging a little deeper, next we asked how familiar Utahns are with the Healthy Utah plan. Not surprisingly, 75% told us they weren't very familiar at all with the plan.
Utahns are much more familiar with Medicaid expansion, which is not too surprising given it's been in the news more than Herbert's alternative plan.
When Utahns find out what's in the Healthy Utah plan, they seem to like it very much. We explained Healthy Utah returns nearly $250 million paid by Utahns to the federal government every year to the state, and that money would be used to assist more than 55,000 low-income Utahns who don't have affordable health insurance by purchasing insurance from the private market or would support participation in current state insurance programs. Given that information, we find that 67% of Utahns support the plan.
Utahns also show support for straight Medicaid expansion, but it's not as strong as support for Healthy Utah. We explained that Medicaid expansion would give Utah nearly $250 million to expand Medicaid coverage for an estimated 55,000 to 75,000 Utahns at or near the federal poverty line.
When we asked Utahns which plan they preferred, 54% said they liked Healthy Utah, while just 23% said Medicaid expansion. 22% said they did not know.
Our survey was conducted September 9-11 among 407 registered Utah voters. The margin of error is +/- 4.9%.
[Editor's note: Zions Bank is a major sponsor of UtahPolicy.com, which makes production of these opinion polls possible.]