Poll: 83% of Virginians support Medicaid expansion

Poll: 83% of Virginians support Medicaid expansion
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About 83 percent of Virginians support expanding Medicaid, according to a new poll.

For years, Virginia Democrats have called for the state to expand the program for low-income and disabled Americans. Even with Democratic governors, the state has been unable to do so because Republicans controlled the legislature. The effort was dealt a major blow earlier this year after Republicans gained control of the state’s House of Delegates in a random drawing to resolve a deadlock in the race.

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The poll shows ample support for doing so, with 60 percent of those surveyed indicating they strongly favored a proposal for Virginia to expand Medicaid; 23 percent of respondents said they somewhat favored the proposal.

The poll was conducted by Republican-leaning Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, and commissioned by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.  

About 40 percent of Republicans surveyed strongly favored expanding Medicaid, and 32 percent somewhat favored the proposal.

On the other hand, Democrats overwhelming support it — 82 percent were strongly in favor; 15 percent somewhat favored it.

Earlier this month, Virginia elected officials drew a random name out of a bowl to settle a tied House of Delegates race. They pulled the slip of paper with Republican David Yancey’s name, and about a week later, Democrat Shelly Simonds called him to concede.

In that call, Simonds asked Yancey to support expanding Medicaid in Virginia, The Washington Post reported.

“He said, ‘We can talk about it later,’ ” Simonds recalled, according to the Post.

But that doesn’t mean the political battle is over. On Tuesday, Democrats in Virginia’s Senate killed a bill that would help a hospital reopen, demanding that the measure’s Republican author support Medicaid expansion in exchange for Democratic votes, The Roanoke Times reported.

The poll surveyed 600 likely voters from Dec. 17-20. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.