Effort to get Medicaid expansion on 2026 ballot sees momentum in recent survey

Portland, OR, USA - Nov 29, 2021: Closeup of the homepage of Med
Nearly 80% of surveyed Florida Latinos would approve of expanding government-funded medical insurance for those in jobs making $20K or less that don't offer health insurance.

Florida’s Latino voters might increasingly favor Republicans over Democrats, but they believe in a key Democratic Party goal: expanding Medicaid eligibility.

Two Latino organizations, UnidosUS and Mi Familia Vota, commissioned BSP Research to survey more than 3,000 eligible Latino voters with Florida-specific questions going to 400 respondents. And poll respondents were asked whether they would favor expanding the state’s medical insurance for the poor, although not exactly in those words.

The survey found 79% saying they favored the kind of government expansion of health care called for in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and just 7% opposed it. They were asked whether Florida should accept funds that the federal government is offering for health insurance for low-income adults making less than $20,000 in jobs that don’t provide health care.

The poll, done through online survey and live telephone interviews, has a margin error of +/- 4.9 percentage points.

Right now, Florida is one of 10 states that has said no to this funding. Successive Republican Governors and Legislatures have blocked the expansion.

In those survey results, however, a group that’s trying to get the question on the ballot in 2026 sees momentum to undertake the uphill task of getting voters to approve expansion through a constitutional amendment.

These findings reinforce a persistent trend we’ve observed through research and direct interactions with voters — there’s resounding demand in Florida for updated Medicaid eligibility requirements that extend essential healthcare services to working families who need them most,” said Jake Flaherty, Campaign Manager for Florida Decides Healthcare.

The campaign, Flaherty says, “is poised to align the state’s Medicaid eligibility with the broader national standards.”

In the poll, the largest share of the respondents (34%) identified Republicans as the party that would be best at addressing their top concern. Asked to pick three top concerns, poll respondents queried between Nov. 2 and Nov. 13 chose inflation/rising cost of living; jobs and the economy; and health care.

The poll also highlights overwhelming bipartisan agreement, as 72% of Republican Latino voters are in favor of Medicaid expansion, according to a news release from Florida Decides Healthcare. This consensus mirrors the successful health care reforms in other Republican-led states throughout the nation, the release says.

This year, reliably red states North Carolina and South Dakota expanded Medicaid eligibility under the ACA. 

“The robust desire for Medicaid expansion within the Latino community and across party lines is striking,” Flaherty said. “The significant support from Republican Latino voters signals that the need for quality health care transcends political divisions.”

Florida Decides Healthcare counts 1.4 million Floridians who would become eligible for health care insurance that don’t currently have it.

The political committee’s fundraising effort to propel that mission has been ramping up recently. Campaign reports show the group raised $25,470 last quarter, more than it reported throughout the previous six months.

But it’s a gargantuan task to get the question on the ballot.

The state’s constitution requires 891,523 voters to sign a petition to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot, as Florida Decides Healthcare is seeking to do. Floridians Protecting Freedom, another political committee, has spent and raised nearly $9 million in the effort to get abortion rights on the 2024 ballot.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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