A new poll sponsored by the American Hospital Association says a majority of Iowans support the expansion of Medicaid – government health insurance for the poor. The results of the poll were posted Wednesday by the Iowa Hospital Association, which supports the expansion.

According to the poll by Essman Research in Des Moines,  Iowans polled were told  that an estimated 125,000 to 150,000 low-income adults would be covered under Medicaid expansion in Iowa and then were asked if they support the expansion of Medicaid in Iowa.

Urban dwellers support  the expansion more strongly than rural residents ( 64 percent support  vs. 54 percent) Democrats support it, while Republicans are fairly evenly divided, according to the article written by Scott McIntyre, communications director for the Iowa Hospital Association.

The hospital association says Iowa hospitals currently provide more than $600 million in charity care and incur another $350 million in bad debt by providing care to uninsured Iowans.

The Medicaid expansion,  which is part of the federal Affordable Care Act, would expand coverage to nondisabled adults who make less $15,415 a year.  The federal government says it would fund the expansion for three years, but Gov. Terry Branstad has opposed the expansion  as unaffordable and unsustainable because he fears the federal government will stop paying for the cost, leaving the state to pick up the bill for the expanded coverage.

More than 83 percent of Iowa business owner members of the National Federation of Independent Business oppose Medicaid expansion, according to a poll of its members.

The Democrat-controlled Iowa Senate is to vote on the Medicaid expansion, although Republicans in the House oppose the expansion.