Poll: Majority of NC Republicans Support Medicaid Expansion

May 23, 2022
Share
 

Medicaid expansion has dominated the healthcare policy discussion in North Carolina for much of the last decade.

We’ve argued against Medicaid expansion repeatedly since our founding in 2013.

But there is no denying that Medicaid expansion’s popularity, especially with Republican and Unaffiliated voters, has grown in North Carolina over that period of time. A majority of voters in every party registration group now supports Medicaid expansion.

In our pre-session survey this year, we saw similar results. 68% of likely voters support straight Medicaid expansion and a whopping 90% of voters support Medicaid expansion if the plan includes a work requirement for new recipients. Here are the crosstabs: NC Statewide Survey Medicaid Expansion

Here’s a chart showing the results by party of every Medicaid expansion question asked in a CPR poll since our founding:

Date Question Overall GOP UNA DEM
May-22 As you may know, Medicaid is a taxpayer-funded program that provides healthcare coverage to low-income people. Do you support or oppose expanding the state’s Medicaid program to cover more people in North Carolina? 68% 50% 66% 86%
Nov-21 As you may know, Medicaid is a taxpayer-funded program that provides healthcare coverage to low-income people.  Do you support or oppose expanding the state’s Medicaid program to cover more people in North Carolina? 68% 59% 57% 87%
Feb-21 Would you SUPPORT or OPPOSE a proposal to expand the state’s Medicaid program by making three hundred thousand new people eligible to participate? 63% 33% 66% 89%
May-20 As you may know, Medicaid is a taxpayer-funded program that provides healthcare coverage to low-income people. Do you support or oppose expanding the state’s Medicaid program to cover more people in North Carolina? 69% 43% 73% 89%
May-18 As you may know, President Obama’s health care reform legislation signed into law in 2010—also referred to as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare—gives states the option of expanding their Medicaid program so that more residents will be eligible for this program.  Would you SUPPORT or OPPOSE a proposal to add 500,000 new people to the state’s Medicaid program? 54% 23% 50% 81%
Apr-16 Next, as you may know, President Obama’s health care reform law gives states the option of expanding their Medicaid program – which provides government funded health coverage for low-income individuals and families – so that more residents will be eligible for this program.  Would you SUPPORT or OPPOSE a proposal to add 500,000 new people to the state’s Medicaid program? 52% 18% 52% 78%
Jan-15 Next, as you may know, President Obama’s health care reform law gives states the option of expanding their Medicaid program – which provides health coverage for low-income individuals and families and funded jointly by the state and federal government – so that more residents can be covered under this program.  Would you SUPPORT or OPPOSE a proposal to add 500,000 new people to the state’s Medicaid program? 51% 24% 48% 71%
Apr-14 Next, as you may know, President Obama’s health care reform law gives states the option of expanding their Medicaid program – which provides health coverage for low-income individuals and families and funded jointly by the state and federal government – so that more residents can be covered under this program.  Would you SUPPORT or OPPOSE a proposal to add 500,000 new people to the state’s Medicaid program? 48% 20% 48% 70%

From a political and policy perspective these are daunting numbers for expansion opponents. Republicans and Democrats who were around in the late 1990s and early 2000s undoubtedly remember conservatives’ fight against overwhelmingly popular state lottery proposals. The bruising political attacks Mike Easley leveled against Richard Vinroot and Patrick Ballantine over their opposition to a state lottery were a big reason Easley won his races for governor by comfortable margins in 2000 and 2004. When then-Lt. Governor Bev Perdue broke a tie vote in the State Senate in 2005 to make North Carolina the 41st state to adopt a lottery, Republicans unanimously opposed the bill and neither stopped the lottery nor got anything in a deal to secure the lottery’s passage.

When even the steadfast progressives at the Washington Post admit that Joe Biden’s inflation and failed economic policies have the US economy “barreling toward recession” in the next year, an economic downturn seems likely. For the Reform Majority that had to make over $3.7 billion in cuts to balance their first budget in 2011, the almost $2 billion in bonus payments North Carolina would receive for expanding Medicaid this year must look like an enticing cushion to soften the blow that a national recession would deliver to North Carolina’s budget.

But if conservatives are going to put Medicaid expansion on the table in budget negotiations, they need to avoid repeating the same mistake they made when the State Lottery passed and make sure they get something in return for it.

Reforming North Carolina’s antiquated Certificate of Need (CON) laws would be a good place to start. CON limits consumer access to care and drives up cost. Other steps should be considered to expand access to healthcare in the underserved rural areas of our state and to increase competition in urban areas.

But the Reform Majority should think bigger than just healthcare reforms. Medicaid expansion should be a big enough bargaining chip with Governor Cooper to win additional conservative gains in three key areas:

  1. Tax Reform and Reduction has been a boon to North Carolina’s economy, and with the state sitting on a record budget surplus, accelerating and adding to the already-scheduled personal income tax reductions should be a top priority.
  2. And with many public schools focusing more on virtue signaling and woke indoctrination than teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, expanding school choice options – for example, universal Opportunity Scholarships – would be a popular, cost-efficient way for the state to allow parents to utilize the education setting that will best serve their children’s education needs.
  3. Finally, with a recession looming, the Reform Majority should continue to focus on controlling spending. Our friend Grover Norquist correctly noted last week that North Carolina’s fiscal discipline is the underappreciated hallmark of the Reform Majority success. If Medicaid expansion is on the table, every dollar of the almost $2 billion federal bonus funds should be put into North Carolina’s Rainy Day Fund to help weather the upcoming recession.

Share