California Field Poll Shows Strong Support for Government Healthcare

California Field Poll Shows Strong Support for Government Healthcare

The latest latest Field Health Policy Survey conducted among California registered voters about changes in the state’s health care system following the implementation of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) suggests that about two-thirds believe that state government should be deeply involved in the business of health care.

Roughly a third of those surveyed had visited the Covered California website, and about a fourth of those that visited “obtained” their health coverage there. The satisfaction for the site is directly tied to support for Obamacare. About 71% of voters who supported Obamacare are satisfied with the website, while only 28% of voters who opposed Obamacare are satisfied with the website’s experience.

California’s Medi-Cal program has also gained support. About 62% of those surveyed now believe Medi-Cal is important to themselves or their families, up from 51% in the 2011 poll. About 65% of voters believe Medi-Cal has been successful in meeting its program objectives, while just 16% feel it has not. The proportion of voters who consider Medi-Cal to be “very important” has also increased from 29% in 2011 to 40% today.   

The poll also found that:

Large majorities of voters support a number of proposals aimed at improving the state’s health care system. These include: encouraging insurance companies to reward doctors and hospitals more for the quality of care they provide than the number of patients they serve (82%), encouraging insurance companies to reduce costs by allowing physician assistants and nurse practitioners to play a bigger role in providing care to patients (81%), and expanding state funding of not-for-profit health insurance co-ops (78%).

The good news for conservatives in the survey is very limited. The proposal to expand Medi-Cal to provide preventive health services to illegal/undocumented immigrants is supported by only 51% of California voters, versus 45% that are opposed. 

The poll found that “Views are highly partisan” about the issue, and “divide voters along racial/ethnic lines.” 

Yet after being generally opposed before Obamacare, 62% of California voters now favor allowing insurance companies to offer a lower cost, high-deductible plan option through Covered California.

The poll also found that general support for health care-related initiatives on the November ballot:

  • Proposition 45, the “Approval of Healthcare Insurance Rate Changes,” which would allow the state more oversight of insurance companies, is supported by 69% of voters;
  • Proposition 46, the “Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors; Medical Negligence Lawsuits,” which would raise the cap on malpractice damages, is supported by 58% of voters; and
  • Proposition 47, the “Criminal Sentencing/Misdemeanor Penalties” initiative is supported by 57% of voters.

Having been personally forced to buy an individual health care plan on the Covered California website after my long-time insurer Aetna eliminated coverage due to plan design, I was shocked that my cost rose from $760 per month to $1460 a month. All the people that I talked to had to buy health care on Covered California also had large premium increases. 

It seems disingenuous to me that the average “premium rate” for 2015 for Covered California is being touted by MSNBC and others as rising by only about 4.2%. But that statistic includes the huge numbers of Californians that now receive a cut with the free Medi-Cal expansion, and the fact that rates were through the roof for those forced into California’s Obamacare this year. 

For more information about how Covered California and the other health care exchanges financially hammered those unlucky enough to have to buy government health care click on “Pay 41% More and Get Less from Obamacare.”