Majority of Americans support Medicaid expansion under Affordable Care Act

Gov. Rick Scott (Pic via flgov.com)

One of the most contentious parts of the 2010 health care reform law — a requirement that states expand their Medicaid programs — is supported by a strong majority of Americans, according to a recent poll.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll (.pdf) released last week, the Medicaid expansion provision in the Affordable Care Act has 70 percent approval from Americans.

The poll also found that most provisions in the law have considerable support from the public, except for the individual mandate, which bottoms out with a 32 percent approval rating.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Florida-led legal challenge to the law. One of the main provisions Florida is fighting is the Medicaid expansion, which according to last week’s poll, found approval among 88 percent of Democrats, 69 of independents and 51 percent of Republicans.

During oral arguments last week, there was evidence that some Supreme Court justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, were skeptical of claims made by the states challenging the Medicaid expansion. The 26 states argue that the law will impose an enormous financial burden.

Gov. Rick Scott has said many times that Medicaid is one of the big culprits for the state’s continued budget problems. Last week he said on Fox and Friends that the law would impact Florida greatly because it would add a “cost to [Florida’s] Medicaid program” that he says the state “cannot afford.” The federal government largely subsidizes Florida’s program, however. Scott’s claim that the law requires states to “dramatically expand Medicaid” has been a common argument made by officials opposing the law. But Florida public policy experts say that Scott’s arguments about the Medicaid expansion have been “vastly inflated [and] lacking in merit.”

The Supreme Court justices have already voted in secret about their position on the law, but a decision will not be announced until late June.

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Ashley Lopez

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