Poll: Californians Support Governor’s Reform Proposal
Seventy-one percent of California adults and 65% of likely voters support Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) health care reform proposal, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/25).
The poll surveyed 2,014 California adults from Jan. 11, 2007, to Jan. 18, 2007, and has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points. Among the total sample, the poll also surveyed 1,180 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points (Geissinger, MediaNews/Contra Costa Times, 1/25).
The poll found that:
- 79% of Democrats support the governor's reform proposal;
- 68% of Independents support the reform proposal; and
- 55% of Republicans support the reform proposal (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/25).
- 79% of all adults and 72% of likely voters support the governor's proposal to guarantee health insurance coverage to children of low-income families (Henshaw, Desert Sun, 1/25);
- 56% of all adults would support a proposal that provides coverage to children of undocumented immigrants, while 46% of likely voters would support the measure and 50% would oppose it (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 1/25);
- 65% of Democrats and 48% of Independents support covering all children, regardless of immigration status (Desert Sun, 1/25);
- 27% of Republicans support the measure (Weintraub, Sacramento Bee, 1/25); and
- 86% of Hispanics and 41% of whites support the measure.
A federal appeals court ruling against a Maryland law that would have mandated employer contributions to health care could become an obstacle to Schwarzenegger's health care reform proposal, the Los Angeles Times reports. In its ruling, the appeals court cited the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which is intended to prevent states from mandating employee benefits of different types and at different levels (Lifsher, Los Angeles Times, 1/25).
The governor's $12 billion plan requires employers with at least 10 workers to contribute at least 4% of payroll into a state fund if they do not provide insurance coverage (California Healthline, 1/19).
Any California law that contains a payroll tax could be challenged in federal court upon passage, according to the Times.
However, the Schwarzenegger administration says its plan would not be overruled by federal law because it would not be company-specific, nor would it mandate a specific type of health benefit.
Kim Belshé, secretary of the Health and Human Services Agency, said the governor's proposal is different than the Maryland proposal because it is built on the "principle of shared responsibility" spread among business, individuals and government (Los Angeles Times, 1/25).
Immigrant rights advocates say Schwarzenegger's recent health care reform proposal and proposed welfare cuts are counterproductive, the Los Angeles Times reports.
State officials say the proposals are not counterproductive, nor are they aimed at immigration control. The welfare proposal would end benefits after five years for children whose parents are ineligible for the program, according to the Times. The proposal would apply to children regardless of their immigration status.
The health proposal would provide coverage to children of undocumented immigrants (Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 1/25).
In a conference call to report company earnings, WellPoint CEO Larry Glasscock said the company supported much of Gov. Schwarzenegger's health care reform plan, but he voiced concern about a provision that would require health plans to spend at least 85% of premiums on health care expenses, the Indianapolis Star reports.
According to Glasscock, the provision would hinder insurers' ability to offer low-cost health plans because such plans typically have higher administrative costs relative to total premiums associated with them.
WellPoint is the largest health benefits company in the U.S. and is the parent company of Blue Cross of California (Lee, Indianapolis Star, 1/24).