New poll: Californians back federal health reform

June 3, 2010

By Daniel Weintraub

Californians are happier with the federal health reform legislation than other Americans, but many state voters say more changes are needed and others would like to repeal what Congress and President Obama have already done, according to a new, independent poll released Thursday.

The Field Poll survey found that California voters support the law by a margin of 52 percent to 38 percent, with the numbers split sharply along party lines. Democrats support the law by a margin of 73 percent to 14 percent. But Republicans oppose it, 74-19. Non-partisans back the bill by a margin of 53 percent to 34 percent.

Nationally, support has not been as strong. A monthly poll by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation in May found that 41 percent of Americans backed the bill while 44 percent opposed it.

The measure, which will take effect over the next four years, imposes new regulations on private insurance companies and seeks to expand access to coverage for people with low incomes or pre-existing medical conditions.

The Field Poll survey, paid for by the California Wellness Foundation, was taken April 7 through April 27 and involved interviews with 1,522 voters in six languages and dialects. The margin of error for the overall sample was 2.9 percent in either direction.

The poll found that just 5 percent of California voters see the overhaul as a done deal, with no further changes needed. Nearly 6 in 10 — 58 percent — say they think the bill passed in March is just the first step toward fixing the nation’s health care system. About one third — 34 percent — say they would like to see the bill repealed.

The law’s most popular provision is one that will prohibit insurers from canceling coverage for people who have been sick or injured. This is supported by 81 percent of voters. Another 78 percent support a part of the law that prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to children based on pre-existing medical conditions. And 69 percent support requiring insurance companies to offer coverage to anyone regardless of their health history.

The least popular provisions of the bill are its mandates on business and individuals to buy coverage or else face fines and penalties.

To download a full report on the poll, click here.

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