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Hospital Association says most in state want Medicaid expansion

Staff Reports • Feb 26, 2013 at 9:46 PM

NASHVILLE –– The Tennessee Hospital Association released the results of a statewide survey it gave to insured registered voters earlier this month about the Medicaid program, which revealed 59 percent of Tennessee residents were in favor of expanding the program, according to a news release.

According to the release, the survey, conducted by Alexandria, Va.-based Public Opinion Strategies, showed a majority of registered voters in every age group 18 and older believed the state should accept federal funds and help offset more than $5.6 billion dollars in Affordable Care Act Medicare cuts facing Tennessee hospitals, while 35 percent opposed the expansion.

“The mandate is clear and decisive,” THA President Craig A. Becker said. “Tennesseans believe accepting the funds and expanding the Medicaid population in the state would mean critical resources for our rural hospitals that are financially struggling and will be crippled by the cuts that already are law.”

According to the release, Tennessee would join more than 20 states that have already opted-in to expand Medicaid under the ACA.

Six hundred registered voters were surveyed — 45 percent were Republican, 37 percent were Democratic and 14 percent were independents.

A telephone poll asked respondents to agree and disagree with a number of statements.

From the release:

- 67 percent believed accepting the funds would mean critical money for Tennessee hospitals that are financially struggling today.

- 62 percent believed the federal government would meet its commitment to pay 100 percent of the cost for the first three years and 90 percent or more in subsequent years.

- 59 percent agreed it is a good deal for Tennessee taxpayers when the federal government would pay nine dollars for every dollar the state spends to expand needed health coverage.

- 55 percent agreed the state’s acceptance of the funds would help control the cost that people with private health insurance pay for health care as hospitals now would be paid for the care they are providing free to the eligible population.

- 65 percent concurred that since most other states are accepting the federal government’s funds, the state should make sure Tennessee’s taxpayers see their money being spent here to provide health coverage and strengthen community hospitals rather than having their tax dollars spent in other states that have opted into the plan.

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