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Gov. John Bel Edwards, right, speaks to the joint session of the legislature after it opened for its two month fiscal session Monday April 8, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La.

Large majorities of Louisiana residents support Medicaid expansion and state protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions if the Affordable Care Act is tossed out by the courts, a new LSU poll has found. 

The fourth installment of LSU's Louisiana Survey released Thursday shows 74 percent of Louisiana residents want the state to establish the protections for pre-existing conditions, even if doing so results in higher insurance costs for healthy people. That mirrors national polling that has found widespread support for protecting people with pre-existing conditions. 

While 55% of residents were unsure whether Louisiana had, in fact, expanded Medicaid, the policy won wide support, at 76%, when people were told the state had done so. 

That support has remained steady since Gov. John Bel Edwards expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act shortly after taking office, though support from Republicans has steadily grown, the poll shows, to 57% support this year. 

When framing Medicaid expansion as an increasing cost burden to the state, support falls among Republicans but the policy still maintains 73% support in all. 

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Only 35% of residents correctly believe the state has expanded Medicaid, while 10% incorrectly think the state has not expanded the program. Low-income people tend to know less about Medicaid expansion, the poll shows. When told the state has expanded Medicaid, a wide majority supports the policy. 

The robust support for pre-existing conditions protections come as both the governor and Attorney General Jeff Landry are each pushing their own legislation that would enact some of the protections offered by the Affordable Care Act in Louisiana in case the law is tossed by the courts. Both bills, which will be debated during the Legislative session that began Monday, offer protections for people with pre-existing conditions. 

Landry is among several GOP attorneys general bringing a lawsuit that is seeking to overturn the protections for pre-existing conditions at the federal level. The Trump administration recently asked a judge in that case to overturn the entire ACA. 

Establishing those protections at the state level won support from 83% of Democrats, 66% of Republicans and 75% of independents. 

The survey is based on telephone interviews conducted from a statewide sample of 917 adults from Feb. 7 to March 15. The margin of error is 4.6 percentage points. 


Follow Sam Karlin on Twitter, @samkarlin.