Under the Dome

Poll shows voter support for insurance expansion

A poll commissioned by NC Child holds that 72 percent of North Carolina voters support using available federal money to “fix the health insurance gap” to insure more adults.

The Public Policy Polling results say that 62 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Democrats, and 62 percent of independents support insuring adults who do not qualify for Medicaid or for subsidized coverage under the Affordable Care Act. PPP is a Democratic-leaning polling firm.

The poll question is five sentences long, and ends with a statement and question.

“The Legislature and Governor McCrory could fix the coverage gap by creating a special North Carolina plan in partnership with the Federal government. Do you think North Carolina should make a plan to fix the health insurance coverage gap or not?

Fixing the gap doesn’t necessarily mean expanding Medicaid, said Rob Thompson, a spokesman for NC Child, a child advocacy organization. Other states have come up with plans to use federal money to buy private insurance, he noted.

The poll avoids using the phrase ‘Medicaid expansion’ because it “has become partisan,” Thompson said. People are more supportive of the issue when the substance is explained, he said.

Gov. Pat McCrory said last January he had talked to President Obama about a Medicaid waiver that would allow the state to add eligibility requirements for beneficiaries under an expansion.

McCrory was asked about expanding insurance at an open meeting last week. He briefly recounted a meeting late last year at the White House and indicted that discussions had not progressed. Legislative leaders oppose Medicaid expansion.

In its statement, NC Child said two obstacles to closing the insurance gap have been removed - the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act and the state is overhauling its Medicaid program.

“There are no good reasons not to move forward with closing the coverage gap,” Michelle Hughes, NC Child executive director said.

The organization said insuring more adults is important to reducing infant mortality, getting more children insured and providing economic security to families.