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Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING – Gov. John Bel Edwards signs the first executive order of his new administration at the State Capitol, No. JBE 16-01, which provides for Medicaid expansion in the state of Louisiana.

Travis Spradling

Nearly three-fourths of Louisiana residents approve of the state's decision to expand Medicaid, a new poll suggests, even as President Donald Trump, who remains widely popular in the state, continues his quest to repeal the federal Affordable Care Act that made expansion possible.

The 2017 Louisiana Survey's findings on health care suggest a disconnect in the relationship between Medicaid health care coverage and the ACA.

While even a majority of Republicans (51 percent), and most Democrats (91 percent) and independents (73 percent) support the expansion of the health care program for the poor, which Gov. John Bel Edwards implemented last year after taking office, more than half of the state has an unfavorable opinion of President Barack Obama's signature health care law. The poll found that 80 percent of Louisiana Republicans have an unfavorable view of the ACA.

Researchers began earlier this month releasing the findings of the latest Louisiana Survey, an annual poll on residents' views on various topics. Tuesday's release, which focuses on Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act, is the fifth of six reports anticipated.

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Louisiana Survey 2017: Medicaid

The Louisiana Survey is based off responses from 1,012 residents in live interviews by cellphone or landline from Feb. 23 to March 23. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points.

Edwards, a Democrat, signed an executive order expanding Medicaid through the Obama-backed Affordable Care Act shortly after taking office in January 2016. The expansion took effect July 1. In the months since, enrollment has continued to climb past 415,000, with thousands of patients reportedly seeking care for chronic conditions and severe illnesses.

Under the expansion, which is an opt-in provision of the ACA, adults who make less than 138 percent of federal poverty level — about $33,500 a year for a family of four or $16,200 for a single adult — can qualify for free health care coverage.

While attitudes toward Medicaid expansion are largely united in support across demographics, the poll found deep divides on the Affordable Care Act.

"There are large cleavages by race, household income and partisanship," the researchers note. "Most whites have an unfavorable opinion of the ACA, but most blacks and most residents of other races have a favorable opinion of the law. Slightly more than half of state residents with household incomes below $50,000 have a favorable opinion of the ACA, but an even larger share – about 60 percent – of residents with household incomes of $50,000 or more have an unfavorable opinion."

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.