63% OF TENNESSEANS SUPPORT MEDICAID EXPANSION
Patient advocacy groups and health care providers released a poll today showing that Tennesseans support Medicaid expansion – the state’s use of federal Medicaid funds to cover uninsured Tennesseans.
A statewide poll of registered voters, conducted in April by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, included questions about voter attitudes regarding the use of federal funds to extend Medicaid. The poll revealed that three times as many (63%) Tennessee voters support expanding Medicaid as the number who are opposed (21%).
The new data showing Tennesseans support Medicaid expansion was unveiled at a press conference at Nashville General Hospital where a number of organizations joined together to express their common commitment to educating the public and political candidates about the importance of using the federal health funding. Participating organizations include Empower Tennessee, Family Voices of Tennessee, Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee, Nashville General Hospital, the National Association of Social Workers in Tennessee, the Rural Health Association of Tennessee, the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug & other Addiction Services, the Tennessee Charitable Care Network, the Tennessee Coalition for Better Aging, the Tennessee Disability Coalition, the Tennessee Health Care Campaign and the Tennessee Justice Center.
[bctt tweet=”A statewide poll of registered voters, conducted in April by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, the poll revealed that three times as many (63%) Tennessee voters support expanding Medicaid as the number who are opposed (21%).”]
“Health care issues, from hospital closings, to the opioid crisis, to rising health insurance premiums, are among Tennessee voters’ top concerns,” said Michele Johnson, executive director of the Tennessee Justice Center. “This poll confirms that Tennesseans of all backgrounds want to keep our federal tax dollars in the state where we can use them to address those concerns.”
In 2014, then-Rep. Jeremy Durham pushed through a bill blocking the governor from extending Medicaid (TennCare) to the uninsured. Every year since then, Tennessee has rejected $1.4 billion in federal Medicaid dollars to cover the uninsured “working poor.” The state continues to lose $3.8 million in such funding each day.
“The poll confirms just how badly out of touch the legislature is with the real life concerns and true wishes of ordinary Tennesseans,” Johnson said.
Rebecca Jolley, executive director of the Rural Health Association of Tennessee, noted that, for its size, Tennessee has lost more rural hospitals than any other state.
QUOTES FROM COMMUNITY STAKEHOLDERS
[bctt tweet=”Our rural health system badly needs the additional revenues that Medicaid expansion would provide. – Rebecca Jolley, Rural Health Association of Tennessee”]
[bctt tweet=” The faith-based charity community works hard to serve the uninsured, but we don’t have the resources to make up for the state’s loss of billions in federal funding. -Mary Kiger, Tennessee Charitable Care Network,”]
[bctt tweet=”These unused federal Medicaid funds would be a welcome resource in the effort to curb the opioid epidemic, by enabling thousands more Tennesseans to receive treatment for addiction,” Mary-Linden Salter, TADAS.”]
[bctt tweet=” Expanded coverage would enable uninsured Tennesseans to get treatment for illnesses, injuries or addictions that currently prevent them from working full-time -Tom Starling, CEO of Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee”]