Polling: New Mexico 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)

SANTA FE, N.M., 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 New Mexico, by a nearly three-to-one margin, want the state to accept federal funds that are available to broaden access to health coverage through Medicaid, a move that would provide 98,000 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 New Mexico 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 (ACA).

"New Mexico has an opportunity to provide thousands of 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 Sandra Adondakis, New Mexico state government relations director, ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. "Governor Martinez has taken one very important step in announcing her intention to extend Medicaid coverage to more hard-working New Mexicans, and we now know the public strongly supports her and the legislature as they finalize plans to improve access to this life-saving program."

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 (65%) said they supported New Mexico accepting federal dollars to cover more people while only 23% 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, New Mexico voters are more likely to agree with reasons to accept federal funds (61%) than reasons to turn down the funds (29%).
  • Support for accepting federal funds already allocated crosses every demographic segment and is especially strong among Latinos, where it has 78% support.
  • Forty-eight 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," Adondakis said. "Improving access to Medicaid coverage in New Mexico will save lives and reduce health care costs."

ACS CAN is working in New Mexico 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)