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Online poll finds majority of Floridians want ACA expansion, oppose GOP proposal

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A majority of Floridians would like to expand the Affordable Care Act, or keep the law as is.

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed in a new statewide poll released Thursday are concerned that people would lose health insurance if the law is repealed, according to the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative.

FAU asked 500 Floridians over the course of four days in the past week, including Monday, when the Congressional Budget Office reported that under the proposed “American Health Care Act,” the ranks of the uninsured could increase by 14 million people next year and over 24 million over the next decade.

When asked about the Affordable Care Act, 46 percent of respondents said they approve of the health care law, while 39 percent said they disapprove. Similarly, 39 percent of Floridians stated that they would like to expand Obamacare and 14 percent want to keep it as is; 18 percent want to repeal the law, and 29 percent reported that they would like to replace the law.

Overall, 73 percent were concerned that people would lose their health insurance if Obamacare were repealed. When asked if the government should be responsible for ensuring all Americans have healthcare coverage, 64 percent said “yes” while 19 percent disagreed.

Respondents also were asked about six specific health care proposals put forth by Republican lawmakers. Only one of the proposals, lifting the $2,600 cap on flexible spending accounts to allow workers to set aside more pretax money to pay out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, had net positive support with 43 percent approving and 29 percent opposing.

As for the repeal of the 3.8 percent tax on investment income, which helps fund Obamacare and affects households making more than $250,000, it garnered 31 percent support compared with 40 percent opposition. Likewise, a proposal to replace health care subsidies with a refund tax credit of $2,000-$4,000 depending on an individual’s age and income had 26 percent support and 38 percent opposition.

A proposal to reduce federal funding to the Medicaid program was opposed by 74 percent and supported by only 16 percent. Only 15 percent of respondents support a plan to increase premiums by 30 percent for a year for those who let their insurance lapse for at least 63 days, while 60 percent oppose.

Most respondents are not in favor of allowing insurers to increase what they charge older consumers. That was least popular, with 76 percent opposing and only 8 percent supporting.

“It is evident that Floridians oppose the new health care proposals,” said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of the BEPI. “These proposals are perceived to be hurting low-income and older people, while benefiting those with incomes higher than $250,000.”

The online survey of Florida residents was conducted March 10-13, and administered by Survey Sampling International. The results have a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percentage points. Additional information and full cross-tabulations are available at

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at [email protected]

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