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Poll finds majority of Americans favor health insurance exchanges

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 18, 2013

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The American public largely supports major Affordable Care Act coverage expansions in 2014, including the establishment of state health insurance exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Harvard School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Among the random sample of 1,347 adults who were interviewed for the survey, 55% said the exchanges should be a top priority for their respective legislatures and state governors. Eighteen states are setting up their own marketplaces, at least seven have opted to partner with the federal government on exchanges, and the rest will turn over their exchanges to the federal government.

“Governors are largely splitting along partisan lines on the exchanges, but the public is not. People like the idea,” Drew Altman, Kaiser’s president and CEO, said in a statement. More than 50% of respondents said their states should expand Medicaid. But in looking at the results along party lines, 66% of Republicans favor maintaining the status quo in their program, whereas 75% of Democrats seek expansion. Independents were divided evenly on the issue.

Fifty-two percent of respondents thought the law’s opponents should try to amend the ACA so it has less of an impact on health care professionals, employers and taxpayers. When asked what federal health program areas should be a priority for federal spending in 2013, veterans’ health care and addressing health problems resulting from man-made or natural disasters topped the list.

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