The majority of South Carolinians polled by AARP are in favor of extending Medicaid coverage to more state residents.
Eight hundred adults 45 and older participated in the poll. The results from it were released Tuesday.
Fifty-four percent said they favor Medicaid expansion under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called “Obamacare.”
“The report also details that 57 percent of 45-to 64-year-olds surveyed disagree with Gov. Nikki Haley’s refusal to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid in South Carolina,” according to a statement about the poll.
AARP reports that the expansion would make at least 329,000 low-income residents eligible for the health insurance program. Many of the newly eligible would be low-income single adults. Eligibility requirements vary from state to state, but in South Carolina, single adults who are not pregnant or disabled do not currently qualify for Medicaid, regardless of their poverty level.
Under the new health care law, the federal government has agreed to fully fund Medicaid expansion for three years. By 2020, South Carolina would be responsible for 10 percent of the costs.
More than 20 other states have already decided to expand Medicaid, but a 2012 Supreme Court ruling made the expansion optional — states may opt out of the program.
Haley, S.C. Health and Human Services Director Tony Keck and several Republican lawmakers have said South Carolina will not participate because it is too expensive and Medicaid will not solve the state’s health problems.
Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.