Polling: Florida Voters Want State to Use Federal Funds to Cover Uninsured Through Medicaid

Jan 23, 2013, 11:00 ET from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Jan. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Public opinion polling released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) shows that registered voters in Florida want the state to accept federal funds that are available to broaden access to health coverage through Medicaid, a move that would provide more than 870,000 currently uninsured people in the state with access to lifesaving preventive care and treatments for cancer and other serious diseases.

The poll, conducted by a bipartisan pair of polling firms, Lake Research Partners and GS Strategy Group, indicates public support for Florida to make health coverage under Medicaid available to individuals and families up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, as urged by the Affordable Care Act.

"Florida has an opportunity to provide more than a million currently uninsured people with lifesaving health coverage through Medicaid, and public sentiment is decidedly in favor of using available federal dollars to pay for it," said Heather Wildermuth, director of government relations, ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. "If Florida makes the right choice, families across the state will have the security of knowing they have access to proven cancer screenings and treatments they otherwise could not afford."

Respondents were informed that federal funds are available to pay 100 percent of the costs to cover more uninsured people through Medicaid beginning in 2014, with the federal share gradually decreasing to 90 percent. According to the poll, a strong majority (63%) said they supported Florida accepting federal dollars to cover more people while only 25% preferred turning down federal funds and leaving vulnerable populations uninsured.

Other key findings include:

  • Voters agree more with common arguments to accept federal funds than with arguments to reject the funds. After hearing arguments from both sides, Florida voters are much more likely to agree with reasons to accept federal funds (62%) than reasons to turn down the funds (28%).
  • Support for accepting federal funds is especially strong among Latinos, where it has 66% support, and independent voters, where it has 67% support.
  • Fifty-one percent of voters have a close friend or family member who is uninsured.

"Beginning next year, Medicaid will offer a defined set of essential benefits to prevent and treat a serious disease such as cancer," Wildermuth said. "Improving access to Medicaid coverage in Florida will save lives and reduce health care costs."

ACS CAN is working in Florida to support strong implementation of provisions of the ACA that enable people with cancer or at risk for cancer to access critical prevention measures such as mammograms and colonoscopies, treatments and follow-up care for cancer.

More information about the polling is available at www.acscan.org.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.  ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.

SOURCE American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)