PRESIDENTIAL RACE: Health Care Most Important for Many, Survey Finds
Half of all Californians believe health care is one of the most important issue in the race for president, and residents favor Vice President Al Gore's model for providing a p rescription drug benefit to Medicare beneficiaries by nearly a 2-to-1 margin over Texas Gov. George W. Bush's (R) m odel, a new survey finds. Conducted by the Field Institute as part of the California HealthCare Foundation's HealthVote 2000 project, the poll surveyed 2,381 adult Californians, including 1,586 registered voters, between Aug. 18 and Sep. 14. The survey found broad support for proposals to expand government and employer-based programs to assist the uninsured and underinsured, although 42% do not favor a system of universal health care. Sixty-five percent said it was "very important" that a prescription drug benefit for Medicare be adopted. On this issue, 60% of voters favored adding a benefit under traditional Medicare -- Gore's proposal -- compared to 32% who favored "the government providing incentives to Medicare insurers to encourage prescription drug coverage under private plans, a Bush proposal" (CHCF release, 10/1). According to Field Poll director Mark Di Camillo, "Gore is on solid ground on Medicare and prescription drugs. It's an issue he could hammer away at in California" (Ostrom, San Jose Mercury News, 10/2). Furthermore, three-fourths of respondents supported Bush's proposal of providing a tax credit to uninsured families to help them pay for insurance premiums, while roughly the same percentages favored Gore's proposals of allowing people age 55-64 to "buy into Medicare" and to expand CH IP programs to include parents of low-income children. The full survey can be downloaded at http://www.chcf.org/specialproje cts/healthvote2000/view.cfm?sectin=Activities&itemID=3246o (CHCF release, 10/1).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.