Survey: La. residents approve of Medicaid expansion, remain divided on Obamacare

Republicans in Congress are determined to push full steam ahead with a key campaign pledge -- repealing and replacing Obamacare.

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana residents approve of the state’s decision to expand its Medicaid program last year under the auspices of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), but the public is still deeply divided on Obamacare.

That’s according to the 2017 Louisiana Survey, a project of the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication.

Here are the highlights of the study:

  • About three fourths of residents (72 percent) approve of expansion. Approval of the move extends across a number of demographic and political groups. Democrats (91 percent) and independents (73 percent) approve of Medicaid expansion. While Republicans are less enthusiastic about the policy, they lean toward approval (51 percent approval versus 45 percent disapproval).
  • Overall, just 42 percent of state residents have a favorable opinion of the ACA. About half of the state (51 percent) has an unfavorable opinion of the federal health care law. There are large cleavages by race, household income and partisanship. Indeed, 76 percent of Democrats have a favorable opinion of the law, while 80 percent of Republicans have an unfavorable opinion.
  • Opinion of the ACA is moving in a more favorable direction. The share of respondents with an unfavorable opinion of the ACA in 2017 is seven percentage points lower than it was in 2014 (58 percent), and the share with a favorable opinion is eleven percentage points higher than it was three years ago (31 percent). The shift in opinion has been especially pronounced among Democrats and independents.
  • Being told that the ACA allows for Medicaid expansion in Louisiana does not, on average, improve opinion of the federal health care law. In contrast, describing the law as “Obamacare” does increase the share of unfavorable opinions of the ACA when the provision for Medicaid expansion is also mentioned.