COMMUNITY HEALTH: CALIFORNIANS SUPPORT INCREASED SPENDING
Californians attach high importance to community healthThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
promotion and disease prevention programs and are willing to put
their money where their mouths are, according to a study released
today by the California Center for Health Improvement (CCHI).
However, nearly half believe that current health expenditures are
out of balance, with too much being spent on acute care services
and not enough being spent on health promotion and disease
prevention. Mark DiCamillo, director of The Field Institute,
which conducted the survey, said, "In short, we heard two
messages. Californians are willing to spend more money to stay
healthy, but they want a better return for their health care
dollars." The telephone survey of 4,803 state residents was
conducted September 30 - November 5, 1996, and has a margin of
error of plus or minus two percent.
SPEND MORE, SPEND RIGHT: The study, "Spending for Health:
Californians Speak Out About Priorities for Health Spending,"
found that "more than five times as many" residents (48% to 9%)
believe too little is being spent on health and welfare promotion
than those who feel too much is being spent. Thirty-one percent
backed current spending levels and 12% did not express a
preference. Forty-nine percent of Californians are
"dissatisfied" with the allocation of community health
expenditures, while 37% approve and 14% have no opinion. Of
those who believe community health spending is out of balance,
"almost four times as many favor spending more" on health
promotion and illness prevention (36%) than support spending more
on treating the sick and injured (10%). In addition, a majority
of state residents (57%) said they would be willing to pay
slightly more for health insurance if it provided them and their
families with more health promotion and preventive medical
services. "What may surprise many is that a majority ... who are
covered by health insurance is willing to pay five percent more
for their health insurance" for those types of benefits, said
Karen Bodenhorn, executive director of CCHI.
TAX AND SPEND: A majority of those surveyed said they
supported various tax increases to pay for more health promotion
and disease prevention services for themselves and their
families. Eighty-one percent of Californians back increasing the
tax on tobacco products to fund these programs, while 78% back
increasing taxes on wine, beer and alcohol. Seventy-two percent
support expanding tax deductions for charitable contributions,
and 68% support increasing state income taxes for individuals
earning more than $200,000 annually. However, 72% were opposed
to a surtax on health insurance premiums paid by business and
individuals. Eighty-one percent of Californians favor continued
community health services for legal immigrants, while 16% are
opposed. Only 42% back such services for undocumented or illegal
immigrants, while 53% are opposed (CCHI release, 1/29).