Poll: Voters Oppose Coverage for Undocumented Immigrants
A majority of California residents oppose two components of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) health care reform plan -- requiring contributions from medical providers and expanding coverage to undocumented immigrants, according to a poll released Thursday by the Public Policy Institute of California, columnist George Skelton reports in his "Capitol Journal" column in the Los Angeles Times (Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 3/29).
The governor's plan seeks to require all California residents to obtain health insurance coverage, regardless of immigration status. Individuals who declined to carry insurance could face a reduction in state income tax refunds or have wages withheld (California Healthline, 1/9).
The $12 billion plan would rely on $3.5 billion in mandatory contributions from physicians and hospitals. Physicians would pay 2% of revenue, while hospitals would pay 4%.
Skelton reports that the poll of 2,000 Californians, including 1,122 likely voters, found:
- 63% of respondents oppose mandatory contributions from medical providers; and
- Almost two-thirds of respondents oppose providing health coverage to undocumented immigrants.
"Perhaps people don't realize that, by federal law, [undocumented] immigrants already are entitled to costly care at overflowing emergency rooms," Skelton writes, adding, "When their treatment isn't paid for, everyone else gets stuck with the bill."
However, according to Skelton, researchers found that two-thirds of likely voters support other components of Schwarzenegger's plan, which include:
- Requiring all California residents to obtain health coverage, while subsidizing coverage for low-income residents; and
- Mandating that employers who do not provide coverage contribute to a state fund that will administer health insurance.
Skelton adds that, overall, the poll found that 70% of California residents with insurance believe the state's health care system needs "major changes" (Los Angeles Times, 3/29).
KCET's "Life & Times" on Wednesday included a panel discussion on the prospects for the governor's health care reform plan ("Life & Times," KCET, 3/28). Transcripts and audio of recent "Life & Times" segments are available online.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.