Low-income adults overwhelmingly support Medicaid expansion and think the government-sponsored program offers health care coverage that is comparable to or even better in quality than private health insurance coverage, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers.

The study appears online October 8, 2014 in Health Affairs.

“In the debate over whether or not states should participate in Medicaid expansion, we rarely hear the perspectives of those people most directly impacted by policies surrounding Medicaid,” said study co-author Benjamin Sommers, assistant professor of health policy and economics at HSPH. “Our survey shows that expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is quite popular among lower-income Americans and that they generally consider Medicaid to be good coverage.”

Under the ACA, states can choose whether or not to expand Medicaid to adults with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level. So far, 27 states and Washington, D.C. are expanding, while 23 states are not — and the issue is controversial in many of the latter states.

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