Support for Three Health-Related Ballot Measures Greater Than Opposition, Poll Finds
Three of the five health-related measures on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot are receiving more support than opposition from likely voters, according to a Los Angeles Times poll. However, enough voters remain undecided on the initiatives to "sway the outcomes in either direction -- making the final days crucial for opposing sides," the Times reports. For the survey, the Times from Oct. 14 to 18 interviewed 1,345 registered voters, including 925 who were considered likely to vote in the election. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. Survey results are summarized below.
Of likely voters, 54% said they supported Proposition 63, which would increase taxes by 1% for residents earning more than $1 million a year to add an estimated $600 million annually to mental health services funding. Twenty-seven percent opposed the measure, and 19% were undecided. Voter awareness of the measure was the lowest of all initiatives included in the poll. Before the measure was read to them, nearly 70% said that they did not know enough about the measure to say how they would vote.
The measure, which would increase the surcharge on telephone bills to fund emergency services, was opposed by 41% of likely voters, compared with 41% who supported it and 16% who were undecided (Garvey, Los Angeles Times, 10/20). The measure would impose a 3% surcharge on telephone bills to fund emergency departments, trauma centers and health clinics and pay for physician training and emergency medical equipment. The initiative would raise about $550 million annually for hospitals statewide (California Healthline, 10/7).
Likely voters supported Proposition 71, which would provide funding for stem cell research, by a 53% to 34% margin. About 13% remained undecided (Los Angeles Times, 10/20). Under the measure, the state would issue bonds to raise an average of $295 million annually over a decade to promote stem cell research and provide funds for a new stem cell research center at a University of California campus, as well as grants and loans for laboratory projects at other colleges. State analysts say the measure would cost a total of $6 billion, including interest (California Healthline, 10/7). The results were "nearly identical" to a Times poll conducted a month ago, and the measure was the poll's "one exception to the low voter awareness of the ballot measures," the Times reports. The survey was conducted before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) endorsed the ballot measure Monday.
About 46% of respondents said they would vote "yes" on Proposition 72 to uphold SB 2, compared with 29% who said they would vote "no" to repeal the law and 25% who were undecided (Los Angeles Times, 10/20). SB 2 is a state law scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2006, that will require some employers to provide health insurance to workers or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage.
SB 2 will require employers with 200 or more employees to provide health insurance to workers and their dependents by 2006 or pay into the state fund. Employers with 50 to 199 employees will have to provide health insurance only to workers by 2007.
Employers with fewer than 20 employees will not have to comply with the law, and the law also will exempt employers with 20 to 49 workers unless the state provides them with tax credits to offset the cost of health coverage (California Healthline, 10/7).
NPR's "All Things Considered" on Tuesday reported on Proposition 63. The segment includes comments from Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association; Peter Farrell, CEO of ResMed; Rusty Selix, director of the California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies; and Assembly member Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), one of the coauthors of the initiative (Goldberg, "All Things Considered," NPR, 10/19). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
In addition, KPCC's "Air Talk" on Monday included a discussion on Proposition 63 with Steinberg and David Yow, spokesperson for No on 63 (Mantle, "Air Talk," KPCC, 10/18). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Wednesday reported on Proposition 72. The segment includes comments from Richard Kronick, professor of health policy at University of California-San Diego; Tracy Ream, director of Neighborhood Healthcare; Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access; Alan Zaramberg, CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce; and small business owners in the state (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 10/20). The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
Additional information on Propositions 63, 67, 71 and 72 is available online.