Nearly Two-Thirds of Missourians Support Medicaid Expansion Implementation
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missourians overwhelmingly support efforts to expand Medicaid in Missouri with nearly two-thirds of voters favoring implementation. Support has grown since voters adopted a constitutional amendment on the question in August 2020, with 18% of those who voted against the issue last year now supporting legislative implementation.
Research on Missouri voters’ attitudes on Medicaid expansion was conducted by American Viewpoint in the first week of January — just as lawmakers were arriving in Jefferson City to begin the 2021 legislative session. The survey included 800 Missouri voters. A memo outlining the survey results has been prepared by American Viewpoint’s Randall Gutermuth.
“Missourians continue to support Medicaid expansion — and that support is growing,” said Herb B. Kuhn, MHA President and CEO. “As the public continues to understand the need for health care coverage, and how that translates to helping the state respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and improving access in the rural areas of the state, the enthusiasm for the approved ballot initiative continues to grow.”
Survey participants were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement, “With Missouri voters having passed Medicaid expansion in August and the state’s Constitution requiring the legislature to implement this change by July 1st, regardless of their personal opinion, it is each legislator’s sworn duty to listen to the will of voters and implement the expansion.” Researchers found 88% of those surveyed indicated it was lawmakers’ duty to implement expansion.
In addition, the survey participants were asked several questions related to the value of expansion. Two questions related to the value of access to health care — especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic — generated strong support for implementation. Participants indicated Medicaid expansion’s benefits for rural hospitals and health care was a strong argument for implementation, with 86% agreeing lawmakers should consider rural health as a reason for moving forward. In a similar question, survey participants indicated that protecting the economic value of health care jobs, supporting rural hospitals and delivering health care to hardworking Missouri families was a strong argument, with 78% in agreement.
“The direct economic argument for Medicaid expansion is well documented,” Kuhn said. “The pandemic has underscored the value of having hospitals, health care services and health care workers in our communities.”
Four in five Missourians think Medicaid expansion is the right thing to do. When participants were presented with the statement, “Missourians voted to expand Medicaid because it will ensure health care coverage for the up to 230,000 residents who earn less than $18,000 a year for a household of one, including many working women and veterans, and it is important for the legislature to listen to the will of voters and implement the expansion and make sure hardworking Missourians have access to quality health care,” 81% agreed.
The persuasive case for Medicaid expansion is as powerful today as in August 2020. Researchers found that after hearing the arguments for expansion, 70% of voters favor the legislature implementing the program. Two-thirds of individuals identifying themselves as independents favor expansion. A majority of Republicans favor implementing expansion — by a 56% to 38% margin — when they understand the arguments for moving forward.
The Missouri Hospital Association is a not-for-profit association in Jefferson City that represents 140 Missouri hospitals. In addition to representation and advocacy on behalf of its membership, the association offers continuing education programs on current health care topics and seeks to educate the public about health care issues.
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