Health Plan, Health Plan, Who’s Got a Health Plan?

Californians are dissatisfied with their health care system.  A new KTVU/Field Poll released today shows more than 2/3rds of Californians want health care reform now.  About a third want the whole system scrapped and to start over

“Our government is just not making the right decisions as far as how important the people are,” said Molly Eaton outside a market in San Francisco’s Mission District.

A block away, a helmetless bike messenger named Marcus, who didn’t want his surname used, said he’d lost his health insurance along with his last job, and his new employer didn’t offer it.  “A lot of countries have free health insurance for everybody.  It’s like included in taxes.”

In San Francisco’s financial district Anthony Byers in an expensive looking suit, said “I do think there needs to be a new plan, and hopefully we’re on that path.”

Director of the Field Poll, Mark DiCamillo ran down results from the third annual health care system survey of California voters.  “By a greater than two to one margin Californians want to procced now with health care reform.”  He said the telephone poll of 1209 California voters during May asked about many of the proposals now circulating in Washington, DC.  Poll results showed people want health care choices, but disagree along party lines about whether to pay for care for the uninsured.  “Democrats are willing to pay for such a tax by a two-to-one margin, but Republicans are not willing, by a three to one margin.”

Tax accountant Paul Bradshaw of suburban Novato said he’s willing to help those who are out of work and looking for a job, but “people who don’t want to work and are riding on the coattails of the taxpayers, I don’t want to support them.”

“I think I’d be willing to pay some,” said Wayne Yee of San Ramon, “but probably not a whole lot.”

43 year old San Franciscan Howard Frazier, who’s now on disability from an on-the-job injury, said “if the economy gets a little better, I wouldn’t mind paying a little extra money for the people that ain’t got (health care), people got kids y’know.”

The poll also found 85% want some kind of a public health care plan to compete with private insurance, 81% want coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, and 69% want employers to be required to offer health insurance to all workers.  70% oppose a requirement that everyone have health insurance or pay a fine.

Nijua Coleman of Oakland, with her ten year old daughter by the hand, said what’s really important is more coverage.  “More benefits for everybody.  Everybody should be able to get health care.”

Whether this “Summer of Health Care” will yield any meaningful reform depends on how big a dose of change Congress can swallow.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnFowlerTV

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