Gov. John Bel Edwards talks about his decision to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act whenever he can. The governor boasts of giving access to preventive care and coverage for illness to about a half million Louisianans, most of them working, and of reducing the state’s uninsured population dramatically. He regularly lists the number of people who’ve gotten cancer screenings under the program, who’ve accessed mental health treatment and who are now being treated for chronic conditions such as hypertension.
LSU poll poll numbers released Thursday morning suggests that maybe Edwards should talk about it even more.
Medicaid was always bound to be an issue in this fall’s governor’s race.
Only 35 percent of the Louisianans interviewed recently for the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs’ annual Louisiana Survey knew for sure that the state had expended Medicaid, a key element of the health care reform law backed by former President Barack Obama that the U.S. Supreme Court made optional. Another 55 percent weren’t sure whether or not the state is participating.
After the high court’s 2012 ruling, former Gov. Bobby Jindal and many other Republicans rejected the expansion, even though the federal government picks up the vast majority of the costs. When Edwards, a Democrat, took office in 2015, expanding Medicaid was his first order of business.
Now that the governor is facing reelection, it looks like voters will consider that plus. The poll found that 76 percent of the people surveyed approve, a figure that has remained constant over the past several years. That includes a whopping 99 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of independents and 57 percent of Republicans.
So that’s one more reason for Edwards to keep bringing the subject up.