More than seven in 10 Alabamians (71.5%), including 65.8% of Republican voters, support expanding Medicaid when told about arguments in support of the idea, according to a new poll commissioned by Alabama Arise. The poll also showed robust bipartisan support for using a portion of the state’s funding under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support Medicaid expansion.
Participants responded strongly when informed that expanding Medicaid would create an average of 20,000 new jobs per year over the next six years and have an economic impact of $1.8 billion per year. Nearly 69% of respondents, including 61.8% of Republican voters, supported using a portion of the state’s $2 billion in ARPA funds to expand access to Medicaid in Alabama.
Jane Adams, Cover Alabama campaign director at Alabama Arise, said the poll results underscore Alabama’s urgent need for Medicaid expansion.
“Voters support Medicaid expansion because it is a tremendous opportunity to create jobs, protect rural hospitals and provide life-saving care,” Adams said. “This poll shows Medicaid expansion is no longer a partisan issue and that most Alabamians support expanding Medicaid coverage to adults with low incomes.”
Support for Medicaid expansion grows across Alabama
The overwhelming polling support reflects an ever-growing group of individuals, organizations, veterans, faith leaders, medical professionals and businesses that support expanding Medicaid in Alabama. This group includes the Alabama Hospital Association, Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, as well as more than 100 nonprofits, faith-based groups and medical advocacy organizations in the Cover Alabama Coalition.
Alabama Arise commissioned the poll, which the Montgomery-based firm Cygnal conducted in January. The poll surveyed 631 likely voters across Alabama and has a margin of error of +/- 3.85%. Interviews of known registered voters occurred via live phone calls, online panel, texts and email invitation.
New report highlights economic benefits of Medicaid expansion
A recent report from the nonprofit Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) shows how Medicaid expansion would create jobs and boost local economies across the state. “Expanding Medicaid coverage in Alabama could save the state almost $400 million per year over the next six years – more than enough to cover the cost of expansion – and have an average positive economic impact of $1.89 billion per year over that same time frame,” the report found.
Medicaid expansion in Alabama would cost an average of $225.4 million per year, according to the PARCA report. But the report also found that expansion would lead to the federal government covering $379.9 million in annual expenses now paid by the state. “As a result, the state could expand coverage, and at the same time, reduce or reinvest the amount paid to support health care for low-income Alabamians by $172 million annually,” PARCA found.
Adams said ARPA funding and other federal incentives make Medicaid expansion an opportunity too good for Alabama to pass up.
“Governor Ivey and leaders in Montgomery have said the obstacle to expanding Medicaid in Alabama is the cost. But with the American Rescue Plan Act funding, Alabama can expand Medicaid and could reinvest more than $170 million in state funding to provide more access to care,” Adams said.
“Public support is strong, and the report and polling data show there is no financial barrier or obstacle to overcome. We urge Governor Ivey and leaders in Montgomery to put forward a Medicaid expansion plan that is tailored to the needs of Alabamians.”