Expanding an unpopular program (Medicaid) to retain money allocated through that program under the guise of another wildly unpopular program (the ACA) seems like a long-shot here in Texas, and a surprisingly bullish negotiating strategy on the part of the Federal Government given public opinion in Texas.
Given the high-level discourse that pervades The Texas Tribune Festival, it may seem uncouth to scrutinize the event in the context of polling. But it's a useful way to analyze what was happening onstage.
Democratic and Republican voters favor many provisions of proposed immigration law reforms and of the Affordable Care Act. But the rhetorical emphasis on unpopular provisions of those policies has made them nonstarters with those same voters.
While most Americans do in fact have an opinion on the Affordable Care Act, to say that they understand it — at all, let alone “all too well” — runs contrary to the data currently available.