Huh? Louisianans love Medicaid expansion, but hate "Obamacare"

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A "second line for health care" last month in New Orleans drew health care providers who spoke out in favor of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • KAT STROMQUIST
  • A "second line for health care" last month in New Orleans drew health care providers who spoke out in favor of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

In spite of “widespread approval” of last year’s Medicaid expansion in the state, Louisianans largely have an unfavorable and deeply divided view of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to The Louisiana Survey 2017’s fifth report released today by the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs.

The survey shows that overall 72 percent of Louisiana respondents approve of the state’s expansion of its Medicaid program, while less than 50 percent have a favorable opinion of the ACA, which provided for the expansion.

Nevertheless, in the last three years more Louisianans have signaled they approve of the federal health care law, which has been nicknamed Obamacare.
The health care canvass, the fifth part of a broader scientific telephone survey 1,012 adults conducted by the LSU Reilly Center’s Public Policy Lab more than a month ago, carries a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

More than half of the respondents who identified themselves as black or other non-white races - expressed a favorable opinion of the ACA — 77 percent and 54 percent, respectively — compared to 29 percent of white respondents. A little more than half of those who make under $50,000 a year favor the federal ACA coverage some 60 percent of those who earn more than $50,000 have an unfavorable view.

A 40 percentage point gap notwithstanding between Democrats and Republicans on approval of Medicaid expansion, a majority of both parties — 91 percent and 51 percent, respectively — expressed approval.

However, the Affordable Care Act itself provided the starkest divide between those who identified themselves Republican or Democrat. Some three in four Democrats had a favorable opinion of the ACA while fewer than one in 10 Republicans liked it, a 68 percent spread.

The survey also tested public opinion of the ACA based on how it was defined for survey respondents, illustrating that mention of the fact that the ACA allowed for Medicaid expansion did little to change opinions of the overall law.

The Louisiana Survey also gauged public opinion regarding the ACA in 2014. Comparison shows an increase in favorable opinions.

The overall portion of respondents who expressed an unfavorable opinion of the ACA decreased between 2014 and 2017 by 18 percentage points. Favorable opinions of the ACA among Democrats increased by 31 percentage points, but there was little change among Republicans with unfavorable opinions of the law, which remained above 70 percent both years.



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