California Voters Concerned About Health Care
More than half ofCalifornia voters are worried about the state's health care system and nearlythree-quarters said they would have approved a health system overhaul proposedby Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) last year, according to a Field Poll surveyreleased on Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Yi, San Francisco Chronicle,4/28). The Field Poll was based on a telephone survey of 1,202 registered California votersbetween March 12 and March 30 and has a margin of sampling error of plus orminus 2.9 percentage points.
The survey found that:
- 59% of California voters are concerned about not being able to afford the costs associated with a serious illness or injury, compared with 48% in a 2006 survey;
- 58% are concerned about having to pay more out-of-pocket costs for health care, compared with 40% in 2006;
- 57% are concerned about not having or potentially losing their health care coverage; and
- 51% of voters said they are very concerned about not having access to quality physicians and health care services, up from 40% in 2006.
Inaddition, 39% of state voters believe California's health care system will beworse in five years, 38% said they think it will be about the same, 13% saidthey think it will be better and 10% said they have no opinion, according tothe poll.
Support forSchwarzenegger-Nunez Plan
The survey also foundsupport for the major elements of compromise health care reform legislationnegotiated by Schwarzenegger and state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D). TheSenate Health Committee rejected the bill in January.
According to the poll:
- 72% of respondents supported the overall plan;
- 84% of respondents said they supported requiring health insurers to cover everyone, including people with pre-existing conditions;
- 77% supported state-subsidized insurance for low-income adults;
- 73% supported requiring employers to contribute to the cost of health insurance benefits;
- 71% approved of raising the state tobacco tax by $1.75 per pack of cigarettes to help fund the health care overhaul, but 77% opposed a provision that would have required hospitals to contribute a 4% fee to help fund the plan;
- 68% supported the idea of an individual coverage mandate (Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/28); and
- 67% said they supported individuals, employers and the government sharing the cost of health insurance coverage.
However, two-thirds of respondents said they did not expect that the plan'sfunding mechanism would keep pace with the rising costs of health care, andabout the same percentage questioned whether new insurance policies for theuninsured would be affordable under the plan (Rodriguez, SanJose Mercury News, 4/28).
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