Most Calif. Voters Support Rate Regulation Initiative, Value Medi-Cal
California voters largely support efforts to improve patient safety, reduce insurance premiums and increase access to health services in the state, according to a new Field Poll, the Sacramento Bee reports (Cadelago, Sacramento Bee, 8/20).
The poll included more than 1,500 registered voters in California (Field Poll, 8/20).
Support for Health Care-Related Ballot Initiatives
The poll found that two November ballot initiatives related to health insurance rate changes and random drug testing of physicians were largely supported by voters.
Nearly 70% of registered voters in California said they support a measure (Proposition 45) that would give the state insurance commissioner the authority to reject health insurance rate increases. Sixteen percent of respondents opposed Prop. 45, and 15% were undecided.
Support for the measure largely was split along party lines. About 75% of Democrats supported the measure, compared with 73% of Independents and 58% of Republicans, according to the poll.
Meanwhile, the poll found that 58% of respondents said they support a separate ballot measure (Proposition 46) aimed at improving patient safety (Sacramento Bee, 8/20). The measure would:
- Increase the state's $250,000 limit on pain-and-suffering awards in malpractice lawsuits;
- Require doctors to undergo random drug-testing; and
- Require doctors to use a drug-reporting system (California Healthline, 8/19).
Thirty percent of respondents opposed Prop. 46 and 12% were undecided (Sacramento Bee, 8/20).
The poll also found that 62% of respondents said they believe that Medi-Cal -- California's Medicaid program -- is important to them or their families, up from 58% last year. Forty percent described the program as "very important."
About 65% of respondents said Medi-Cal has successfully met its program objectives.
Fifty-one percent of respondents said Medi-Cal should be expanded to provide preventive care to undocumented immigrants.
In addition, the poll found that:
- 82% of respondents favored encouraging insurers to reward health care providers for care quality, rather than volume;
- 81% favored encouraging insurers to expand scopes of practice for physician assistants and nurse practitioners;
- 78% favored expanding state funding for not-for-profit health insurance co-ops; and
- 62% favored allowing lower cost, high-deductible health plans to be offered through Covered California.
Meanwhile, 36% of California voters -- or one in three over the age of 65 -- had visited Covered California's website, and 9% reported purchasing health coverage through the site.
Of those who visited the exchange website:
- 56% were satisfied with the experience; and
- 42% were dissatisfied (Field Poll, 8/20).