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Medicaid expansion still a big underdog in Texas

Ed Kilgore sees good things in a poll about expanding Medicaid.

It’s constitutional – deal with it

But even in Texas, a new survey sponsored by the American Cancer Society Action Network has found, there’s strong majority support for the Medicaid expansion.

The survey extended to seven states that have been mulling the subject (in one, New Mexico, Gov. Susan Martinez has very recently come out for accepting the Medicaid expansion, making her one of just two Republican governors to do so), and the results were not ambiguous: majorities support the expansion before and after hearing the standard arguments for both positions. The percentage supporting their states’ taking the federal money and implementing the expansion range from 70% in New Jersey to 65% in New Mexico, to 63% in Florida, Kentucky and Michigan, and then 58% in Texas and 57% in Iowa.

The percentage of self-identified Republicans supporting the Medicaid expansion ranges from 32% in Texas up to 45% in Kentucky.

You can see the poll here. They give sample sizes and a breakdown by race, gender, age, and party ID, but they don’t say how big these subsamples are, nor do they give the full questions. I’m always at least somewhat skeptical of polls that lack full information, but that’s not really the issue here. The number that matters is that 32% support among Republicans. Does that sound like something that Republican officeholders who want to avoid losing primary elections will support? Perhaps in some other states, but sadly not here. The poll does give some hope for this as a general election issue, and I expect that the next Democratic gubernatorial candidate will make a forceful case for expanding Medicaid, but we’re not going to make a lot of headway in the Legislature this way. Maybe there is a viable bipartisan plan for expanding Medicaid that can get Republican votes and Obama administration approval that won’t get rejected by Rick Perry, which seems increasingly unlikely after Perry reiterated his unyielding opposition to it in the State of the State address. It would be great if there is a way forward, but it’ll take a lot more that one poll to convince me.

UPDATE: See Gromer Jeffers for an example of what I mean when I say that this poll does not have encouraging numbers for Medicaid expansion.

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