Poll: Lukewarm Support for Health Care-Related Propositions
Nearly half of those likely to vote in a May 19 special election support twoÂ measures that would shift funding for children's health care and mental health programs, a poll released Wednesday by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found, the Los Angeles Times reports (Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, 3/25).
The measures, if approved,Â would complete the budget Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed last month that uses tax increases, spending cuts and borrowing to cover California's projected budget deficit through fiscal year 2009-2010. Voters will consider six total ballot measures, two of which affect health care fundingÂ (California Healthline, 3/16).
Each ballot measure requires at least one vote above 50% to pass (Los Angeles Times, 3/25).
According to a report by California's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, California will face a $12 billion budget deficit in fiscal year 2009-2010 if voters reject the measures. Even if the measures are approved, the state will face a budget deficit of at least $6 billion because state revenue is falling about $8 billion short of expectations, the report found.
Propositions 1D, 1E
Proposition 1D would temporarily shift $608 million from First 5 programs to fund services for children, including programs for foster children and kids with developmental disabilities. First 5 was created in 1998 when voters approved Proposition 10 to increase the state tobacco tax to fund early childhood health care and education programs.
Proposition 1E would shift $226.7 million from mental health care programsÂ funded byÂ Proposition 63 to the existing Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program for low-income children for two years.
In 2004, voters approved Proposition 63, which increased the state income tax on high-income Californians to fund mental health services (California Healthline, 3/16).
The poll found that 48% of likely voters are in favor of Proposition 1D, compared with 36% who oppose the measure. Sixteen percent of voters surveyed are undecided.
Meanwhile, 47% of likely voters support Proposition 1E, while 37% oppose the measure. Sixteen percent of likely voters still are undecided on Proposition 1E.
The telephone poll surveyed 987 likely voters in English and Spanish from March 10 to March 17. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points (Lin, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 3/25).
Opposition/Support for Measures
Numerous health care groups have come out in support of or in opposition to the measures, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports.
The California Taxpayers' Association and the California Chamber of Commerce back both Propositions 1D and 1E.
Health Access opposes both of the measures, while the California Psychiatric Association and California Psychological Association oppose Proposition 1E (AP/San Jose Mercury News, 3/25).
The California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies also opposes Proposition 1E and has contributed $100,000 -- the largest opposition donation -- to campaign against the measure (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 3/26).
Tony Quinn, a nonpartisan election analyst who specializes in California politics, said voters appear to be turned off by Sacramento politics and are not focused on the importance of the measures.
Mark Baldassare, a pollster and president of the policy institute, said that "the supporters of the propositions have their work cut out for them" (Los Angeles Times, 3/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.