Poll: Independents, Democrats Strongly Favor Medicaid Expansion, Republicans Not So Much

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Idaho lawmakers, usually far from the Statehouse in late July, donned their suits and name badges Monday to mull what Rupert Republican Sen. Dean Cameron called "the most-important issue facing our country and certainly facing our state."

But the 14-member Idaho Legislature Health Care Task Force walked away with many more questions than answers, still stuck at the crossroads of whether to proceed with the development of an insurance exchange and whether the state should agree to an expansion of Medicaid, which according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, could insure an additional 85,000 Idaho men and women.

"There are some advocating that we should do nothing, and put all our eggs in the [presidential] election basket, and somehow hope that will work out to our favor," said Cameron.

But a new poll out this morning indicates that most Americans back the idea of extending health coverage to their low-income neighbors through an expansion of Medicaid, that is, unless it means higher costs for their own state.

The Kaiser Family Foundation published a survey this morning which reveals that 67 percent of respondents gave a favorable view of President Barack Obama's health care provision to expand the existing Medicaid programs to cover more low-income uninsured adults. Nationwide, the expansion could ensure coverage to as many as 16 million Americans.

But the poll's respondents broke sharply along party lines. Nine out of 10 surveyed who said they were Democrats and two-thirds of independents backed the expansion. Six out of 10 Republican participants said they opposed it.

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