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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Poll: Idahoans favor Medicaid expansion

A new Idaho poll by Utah pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds that 61 percent of Idaho registered voters support Medicaid expansion, and just 29 percent oppose it; the poll, commissioned by Idaho Politics Weekly, surveyed 520 Idaho voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent. The question asked was, “Do you support or oppose an expansion of federal Medicaid coverage in Idaho?”

Expanding Medicaid coverage is optional for states under the Affordable Care Act, but the federal government will pick up most of the cost. In Idaho, where the issue remains undecided, the working poor don’t qualify either for Medicaid or for subsidies to buy health insurance on the state’s insurance exchange; the exchange has income thresholds most of the working poor can’t meet, as the ACA anticipated lower-income people would be covered by an expanded Medicaid program.

Gov. Butch Otter has convened a task force that’s repeatedly recommended the expansion, along with changes to Idaho’s Medicaid program; the group’s latest recommendation is for a hybrid program to cover the state’s working poor partly by subsidizing private insurance coverage, rather than a straight expansion of Medicaid.

Idaho Politics Weekly also sponsored polling on Idaho transportation funding, finding 79 percent support increased funding for the state’s roads and highways, but 55 percent oppose a gas tax increase for just that purpose. Eighty-four percent favored having commercial trucks pay more; 57 percent opposed increase in registration fees for cars and pickups. You can see the publication’s poll results at its website here; Idaho Politics Weekly is a new online newsletter underwritten by Zions Bank. Last week, it published poll results showing 67 percent of Idahoans favor banning discrimination against gays, and 65 percent believe Idaho’s education funding is too low.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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