A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

California Dreamin' -- 64% Like New Plan

California Dreamin' -- 64% Like New Plan

December 22, 2007

Yes, dammit, we're unshakable optimists here at HCFA. And we are more than heartened looking at the poll numbers of the early reactions of the California public to the health reform breakthrough approved by the Assembly this past week -- 64 to 26 percent favorable. Click here for poll results story.

According to the poll, 74% of Democrats support the bill, while 52% of Republicans and 59% of independent voters support the measure. At least 55% of voters in all age groups support the legislation, and at least 60% of male and female voters support the overhaul plan, as well as voters with a range of incomes. Sixty-three percent of voters said they support a $2 increase to the state's tobacco tax to help finance a health care overhaul, the poll found. The governor and Núñez are considering a tax increase of $1.50 to $2 per pack.

Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said, "Majority support among every subgroup is very unique," adding, "I think there's a strong perception that something needs to be done, that the system is broken and it needs to be fixed".

The poll also found that 23% of voters said they were strongly or somewhat opposed to the overhaul plan (San Jose Mercury News, 12/21). The most common reasons given by voters who oppose the plan were that it would expand government's role in the health care system; require certain residents to obtain coverage; and place a heavy financial burden on small businesses that cannot afford to provide coverage.

Those numbers look a lot like some of the polling numbers in the MA health reform law. They may turn out to be the high water mark for favorable support once the opposition takes to the airwaves.

Biggest worry is the Senate which has yet to take up the plan and won't until mid-January. A little like leaving a patient open on the operating table for a couple of weeks -- stuff will happen. We're keeping our fingers crossed for those who want to make change happen now.