What They’re Saying About: New Polling Shows Virginians Overwhelmingly Support Increasing Access to Health Care

January 23, 2018

State and national news outlets, right- and left-leaning online journals and radio personalities highlight statewide poll results showing overwhelming support (83 percent of Virginia voters in favor) for increasing access to health care for uninsured Virginians

The Virginian-Pilot:

“A new poll finds that about 83 percent of Virginians are in favor of expanding Medicaid — that includes nearly 72 percent of Republicans. The support also crosses regional boundaries with more than 80 percent support in all areas of the state. Nearly 86 percent of Hampton Roads residents polled in the survey are supportive . . . The poll, released Tuesday and paid for by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, was conducted by Republican-leaning Public Opinion Strategies of Arlington.”

The Virginian-Pilot:

Editorial: Outlook brightens for Medicaid expansion

“At long last, there is reason to believe a critical mass of Virginia lawmakers may extend health coverage to thousands of low-income residents under the commonwealth’s Medicaid program.”

“A recent survey . . . conducted by a Republican polling firm, found that ‘four out of five Virginia voters (83 percent) support a plan to help enroll the uninsured.’ Support varied little by region, and mirrors what Virginia saw at the polls in November.”

The Roanoke Times:


“Expanding Medicaid would indeed be a worthy goal, and there is certainly the argument to be made that Medicaid expansion would make it easier to run a rural hospital — 43 percent of which in Virginia operate in the red.”

“The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association recently commissioned a statewide poll on Medicaid expansion. It even made a point of hiring a well-known Republican pollster. The results showed that 83 percent of Virginians support expansion.”

The Hill:

Poll: 83% of Virginians support Medicaid expansion

“About 83 percent of Virginians support expanding Medicaid, according to a new poll . . . The poll shows ample support for doing so, with 60 percent of those surveyed indicating they strongly favored a proposal for Virginia to expand Medicaid; 23 percent of respondents said they somewhat favored the proposal. The poll was conducted by Republican-leaning Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, and commissioned by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. About 40 percent of Republicans surveyed strongly favored expanding Medicaid, and 32 percent somewhat favored the proposal. On the other hand, Democrats overwhelming support it — 82 percent were strongly in favor; 15 percent somewhat favored it.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch:

“Results of a poll that shows 83 percent of Virginians in favor of expansion, including 88 percent in the Richmond area. The poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, a Northern Virginia firm that has worked for Republican political candidates across the country, including McDonnell in his successful gubernatorial campaign in 2009.”

Becker’s Hospital Review:

“A new poll . . . found 83 percent of Virginia residents support Medicaid expansion in the state . . . the poll surveyed 600 potential voters between Dec. 17 and Dec. 20.”

The Northern Virginia Daily:

“In a news conference, Valley Health and other members of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association Board of Directors argued that expanding Medicaid would bring financial benefits to citizens, hospitals and the Commonwealth of Virginia as a whole.”

The Winchester Star:

“Valley Health President and CEO Mark Merrill was among a group of community hospital leaders who spoke. . . in support of Medicaid expansion in Virginia and other policy priorities for improving the health care system.”


“83 percent of respondents in the commonwealth answered ‘yes’ when asked if they supported a proposal to expand Medicaid benefits.”

“A new poll by a research firm known to be republican leaning . . . found 83 percent of Virginians support expanding health care in the state . . . this will cut down on burdensome costs for hospitals . . . more coverage will help in the battle against opioids.”

WINA NewsRadio:

“Public Opinion Strategies is one of the nation’s largest political and public affairs survey research firms. Multiple community hospital leaders presented the operation’s numbers on a poll regarding health care coverage for the uninsured in Richmond . . . While support was strongest among self-identified Democrats, more than two-thirds of self-identified Republicans and Independents also support coverage for the uninsured.”

Michael V. Gentry, Senior Vice President & COO of Sentara Healthcare:

“One available remedy to the challenge of uncompensated/charity care is to get more people enrolled in health care coverage. There is an available mechanism to accomplish that in Virginia. And according to new public opinion research, the vast majority of Virginians support doing just that.”

Mary N. Mannix, President & CEO of Augusta Health:

“The results of the research are clear. Virginians do believe, across all regions and parties, that increasing health care coverage is the right move.”

Mark H. Merrill, President & CEO of Valley Health:

“We believe that expanded access will be beneficial to the commonwealth and the citizens.”

Dr. Michael P. McDermott, President & CEO of Mary Washington Healthcare:

“It’s what Virginians want, and what our Commonwealth needs.”

Sean T. Connaughton, President & CEO of VHHA, on 1140 WRVA Radio:

“It was incredible to us, that essentially three-fourths of Virginians now support it. And that’s across every region and across both parties. And so we see now there’s a great deal of public support for it.”

Les Sinclair, Host, WINA NewsRadio:

 “The support is there . . . The one that was eye opening for me was the hospital patient payer mix and the number of people in Virginia that are either uninsured or government insured. That is incredible.”

John Fredericks: John Fredericks Radio Show:

“To me, as a Republican, there’s no argument for not expanding Medicaid in Virginia. The costs are covered. And if we don’t get the money from the federal government, guess what – they’re going to send it to Jerry Brown in California. As far as I’m concerned, I can’t see an argument for not doing it. I mean, you have to ask yourself as a Trump supporter: “Do you want the money coming back to you in Virginia, or do you want the federal government sending more money to Governor Moonbeam?”

“83 percent is a big number. You can’t get 83 percent . . .  of people to agree on anything, let alone something as polarizing, if you will, as Medicaid expansion. That’s a huge number . . . 83 percent of Virginians are in favor of it. It was good enough for Mike Pence in Indiana. I don’t know why it’s not good enough for us.”

 The Republican Standard:

“Outstanding numbers from Public Opinion Strategies this morning as the Virginia Hospital and Health Care Association reveals their numbers of health care reform — 83% of all Virginians want some form of health care coverage for the uninsured, and 72% of all Republicans agree with the sentiment.”

“The building blocks are there. The political will may very well be present as well. The question is whether or not partisanship will take a backseat for the 400,000 Virginians waiting for both parties to answer the call.”

J.R. Hoeft Show:

“This Public Opinion Strategies poll that says 4 out of 5 Virginia voters (83 percent) support a plan to help enroll the uninsured to health care coverage.”

 “Well, I definitely applaud you guys for taking the poll, and I find the results interesting.”

“I think it’s pretty important that we let folks know that, number one, hospitals for the most part by law are required to see people, whether they have insurance or not . . . And oftentimes they end up not getting paid back, at least the full amount, for the care that they’re provided. And these dollars that come in from the federal government which Virginia taxpayers have paid in, would come and support the hospital in that endeavor. I think when we talk about charity care or something along those lines, hospitals lose something like $900 billion.”

“Mainly hospitals today . . . quite frankly, could be considered a public good at this point.”

Blue Virginia:

“Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association Press Conference on the Need to Expand Healthcare Access in Virginia; New Poll Results . . . Make sure you let your lawmakers know how important this is to you.”