WELFARE-TO-WORK: Health Care No. 1 Need
Americans support strategies to ensure that people making the transition from welfare to work have access to health care, ranking it as the number one interim support needed for people leaving welfare, according to a national opinion survey sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The survey of 3,400 American households last November found that the majority of respondents feel that the working poor should be eligible for the same benefits as those making the transition from welfare to work. William Richardson, president and CEO of W.K. Kellogg Foundation, said, "[W]e see many Americans dissatisfied with the present health care system and wanting devolution to result in major improvements in access to quality health care especially for working families, children and the disabled." Among the survey results:
- 77% of respondents believe legal immigrants should have the same access to public assistance as native-born Americans.
- 86% of survey participants advocate providing assistance for all low-income uninsured families to encourage them to obtain health insurance.
- 81% indicated they would be willing to pay more taxes to offset the costs of providing health care to children, the elderly and the disabled.
- 64% of respondents said they would support slightly higher taxes if their money would go toward providing health care for the uninsured, 30% disagreed, and 6% were unsure.
- 78% of African-American respondents asserted that states are not taking enough actions to insure children; 63% of the total respondent pool expressed the same belief.
- 50% of respondents said they are "somewhat" or "very" dissatisfied with health care in America, while 47% indicate they are "somewhat" are "very satisfied."
- 43% of those surveyed reported that they or members of their family have, at some time, "been without health care coverage ... because (they) were unable to afford it."
- 78% of respondents supported efforts to funnel government funding into health insurance programs for uninsured children.
- 85% of those surveyed said the government should provide health insurance for the disabled.
- 31% of those surveyed indicated that the federal government should be ultimately responsible for providing health care for the poor, 28% indicated that the state government should play this role. The poll was conducted Nov. 4-27 by Bonney & Co. and has a margin of error of +/- 2.1% (Kellogg release, 1/13).