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New Poll Doesn’t Actually Prove Term “Affordable Care Act” Hurts Support for Medicaid Expansion

medicaidMorning Consult claims a new poll of theirs proves that simply adding the name “Affordable Care Act” makes Medicaid expansion noticeably less popular, but that conclusion can’t actually be reached from the questions they used. From Morning Consult:

Three little words is all it takes to change voters’ minds about Medicaid expansion.

Morning Consult polling shows using the term “Affordable Care Act” can make a difference in how a voter feels about expanding Medicaid. When asked if Medicaid should be expanded for low income adults below the federal poverty line, 71 percent of registered voters said yes. When asked if Medicaid should be expanded “as encouraged under the Affordable Care Act”, support dropped nine percentage points.

The problem is their two poll questions aren’t the same exact for the phrase “Affordable Care Act.”

The first group was asked, “Do you think all states should offer Medicaid to low income adults who make below the federal poverty line?” This was supported by 71 percent of voters.

The second question was, “Do you think all states should expand Medicaid as encouraged under the Affordable Care Act?” This had 62 percent support.

To begin with these are two different proposals. The first question would imply expanding Medicaid to everyone making below 100 percent of the federal poverty line, while the ACA actually expands it to people making up to 138 percent of FPL. That could account for some of the difference among voters who know this detail. Some might think Medicaid should be expanded to 100 percent FPL, but not not up as high as the ACA does.

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New Poll Doesn’t Actually Prove Term “Affordable Care Act” Hurts Support for Medicaid Expansion

medicaidMorning Consult claims a new poll of theirs proves that simply adding the name “Affordable Care Act” makes Medicaid expansion noticeably less popular, but that conclusion can’t actually be reached from the questions they used. From Morning Consult:

Three little words is all it takes to change voters’ minds about Medicaid expansion.

Morning Consult polling shows using the term “Affordable Care Act” can make a difference in how a voter feels about expanding Medicaid. When asked if Medicaid should be expanded for low income adults below the federal poverty line, 71 percent of registered voters said yes. When asked if Medicaid should be expanded “as encouraged under the Affordable Care Act”, support dropped nine percentage points.

The problem is their two poll questions aren’t the same exact for the phrase “Affordable Care Act.”

The first group was asked, “Do you think all states should offer Medicaid to low income adults who make below the federal poverty line?” This was supported by 71 percent of voters.

The second question was, “Do you think all states should expand Medicaid as encouraged under the Affordable Care Act?” This had 62 percent support.

To begin with these are two different proposals. The first question would imply expanding Medicaid to everyone making below 100 percent of the federal poverty line, while the ACA actually expands it to people making up to 138 percent of FPL. That could account for some of the difference among voters who know this detail. Some might think Medicaid should be expanded to 100 percent FPL, but not not up as high as the ACA does.

More importantly, I suspect the use of the phrase “low income adults who make below the federal poverty line” are actually the words responsible for most of the difference. That is telling people who the Medicaid expansion is for and that it is limited to only the poor. I suspect most people don’t know the exact details of the ACA or every state’s Medicaid policy. Some might have assumed the ACA expansion is significantly larger or that most states already covered everyone up to the federal poverty line.

While it is possible the term “Affordable Care Act” it responsible for some or all of that decrease in support, this poll can’t prove that since there was more than one important variable. In fact the 10 words “low income adults who make below the federal poverty line” are possibly the main culprit for the difference.

There has been a long tradition of trying to prove that the lack of popular support for the law is mainly about its name but that is not what the polling data has actually shown. (more…)

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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