The coverage of today’s Field Poll is broadly about the budget, but has lots of specific information on health care.
On the broad take, it’s clear that the voters’ top two priorities in the budget are education (“the public schools”) and health care, with 80% and 77% of the public opposing to making cuts in these areas. The budget reflects the will of the voters: around half of the budget is education, and a third is health and human services.
The terrifically high support for health care could actually be an underestimate, given the question (about making cuts to “health care programs for low-income Californians and the disabled.”) It’s true that Medi-Cal, the main health program, serves 6.5 million low-income children, parents, seniors, and people with disabilities. It’s also true that Medi-Cal is an essential funding base for the entire health care system on which we all rely.
The poll in fact did ask about specific health areas: here are the proportions reporting being very or somewhat concerned about each of the five health program areas measured.
• hospital emergency rooms and trauma centers (86%)
• health care programs for low income Californians and the disabled, like Medi-Cal (80%)
• staffing for nursing homes (76%)
• immunizations and prenatal care (72%)
• public health and bio-terrorism preparedness (60%)
The public is clear about rejecting these health care cuts. The polls also tests a range of taxes to prevent those cuts, with some getting majority support, and some not. It’s up to our elected leaders to figure out exactly the mix of revenues to prevent these cuts. But that’s the job of our leaders now.