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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.

Two of the biggest policy changes of Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration to date – Medicaid expansion and changes to the criminal justice system – are popular among Louisiana residents, a new poll found.

About 69 percent of respondents to the 2018 Louisiana Survey conducted by LSU's Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs said they agree with Edwards' decision to expand the federally-funded Medicaid health care program for the poor.

Edwards, a Democrat, had campaigned on the issue and signed an executive order shortly after taking office to implement expansion effective July 1, 2016. Since then, more than 471,000 people have enrolled in the expansion. Expansion, an optional part of the federal Affordable Care Act, made Medicaid available to adults with income below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, about $34,000 annually for a family of four or $16,600 for a single person.

The criminal justice overhaul, which have allowed for some shorter prison sentences among other changes, is viewed favorably by about 61 percent of respondents, the Louisiana Survey found.

The Survey has been conducted annually since 2003 and twice in 2006 to establish benchmarks in public opinion on several hot topics.

The 2018 Louisiana Survey was conducted telephone Jan. 26 to March 3 via landline and cell phone. It included 852 respondents and has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points. Friday's release is the fifth in a series of six parts addressing views on various issues.

The Louisiana Survey's findings on attitudes toward Medicaid come on the heels of a new report released this week that showed the state's expansion of Medicaid has been an economic boon for the state, in addition to providing health care coverage to thousands of people.

The report, commissioned by the Louisiana Department of Health and conducted by economist Jim Richardson and LSU's Public Administration Institute, found that the $1.85 billion infusion of federal funds tied to expansion has directly helped create or retain nearly 19,200 jobs and spur nearly $3.6 billion in economic activity across the state. A summary of the report is available here. The full report is available by clicking here.

Of that new population, 365 women have been diagnosed with breast cancer, 7,418 adults have been diagnosed with diabetes and 19,322 adults are now being treated for hypertension, among other health outcomes tracked.

See the full findings and detailed breakdowns of the latest release from the 2018 Louisiana Survey here.

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.