UW Survey: Majority of Wyomingites Disapprove of Affordable Care Act, But Want Medicaid Expansion
Three in four Wyomingites disapprove of the federal Affordable Care Act, according to a University of Wyoming news release citing a recent election survey. That proportion hasn't changed much, and doesn't exactly come as a surprise.
But the same survey found that 63 percent of Wyoming residents are in favor of expanding Medicaid, an option available under the Affordable Care Act.
About 22,000 Wyoming citizens currently get their medical insurance through the act.
The survey used telephone interviews with 354 Wyoming residents Oct. 5-11 by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center's Survey Research Center. The margin of error is 5.2 percent.
"Not surprisingly, given consistent opposition from Republican elected officials to Obamacare, 95 percent of Wyomingites identifying with the Republican Party also expressed disapproval," says Oliver Walter, a founder of the survey and former dean of the UW College of Arts and Sciences.
Seven of 10 Wyomingites who identify with neither party disapprove of the act, according to the survey, while three-quarters of Democrats approve.
Walter says the number of people who support Medicaid expansion under the act has increased two percent since 2013. The Wyoming Legislature in February voted against expansion for the fourth consecutive year.
Legislators don't necessarily share the views of their constituents, according to Walter.
"We live in a representative democracy, and representatives base their votes on their ideologies, their political party affiliation and interest groups, in addition to the views of those who elect them," Walter says.
An estimated 18,000-20,000 Wyomingites could be covered by medical insurance, per the Wyoming Department of Health, and expansion in the 2016 legislative session would have net an estimated $33.4 million in savings for the state's general fund for the current biennium.
The survey, conducted by UW's Department of Political Science in partnership with the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center, has been repeated before every general election since 1972.