SAN DIEGO: Voters Support Expanding Health Care Coverage
San Diego voters overwhelmingly favor programs that would expand health insurance coverage in the San Diego area, according to a new survey. Currently, a quarter of all San Diegans are uninsured and San Diego ranks lowest among all California counties for the number of residents enrolled in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families (Alliance Healthcare Foundation release, 4/28). Commissioned by San Diegans for Health Coverage -- a project of the Alliance Healthcare Foundation -- the poll of 1,000 San Diego voters revealed that 77% believe "health care should be considered a fundamental right of American citizens," while two-thirds of respondents indicated that they would support increased local government spending to expand coverage. Four out of five voters said that San Diego County has "great responsibility" or "some responsibility" to expand coverage. When presented with the possibility that increased coverage might cost the average taxpayer $35 a year, 68% of respondents said they would support such an expenditure. Additionally, about 90% of participants said they would support offering a 15% tax break to businesses to encourage them to offer insurance to their employees. More than 80% supported policies that would allow low-income individuals to buy into government programs at a reduced cost and expand income eligibility requirements for those programs. Ninety-four percent of respondents indicated that they had health insurance and 88% of those were satisfied with that coverage (San Diegans for Health Coverage survey, 4/20). Ruth Lyn Riedel, chair of San Diegans for Health Coverage and CEO of the Alliance Healthcare Foundation, said, "Voters revealed a principled and practical perspective on the issue: they strongly believe health care is a fundamental American right and have grave concerns about the impact of the uninsured and the health of the community at large. They also clearly understand that, in the long run, it costs more if they delay care due to lack of health insurance, and that, we, as taxpayers, save money if we expand insurance coverage and help people get preventive and primary care" (Alliance Healthcare Foundation release, 4/28).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.