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Half of California voters find health care difficult to afford and are paying more for it than last year, survey says

August 19th, 2013 | by Victoria Pelham | Comments

Half of California voters think health care is difficult to afford and say their health care costs went up this year, according to a new survey from The Field Poll, an independent California-based polling group.

Fifty percent of the state’s voters found health care hard to afford, and the same amount said they were paying more for it than last year.

Paying for health care was reportedly more difficult for uninsured voters (72 percent), low-income (71 percent), those insured through Medi-Cal (63 percent) or the individual market (60 percent) and those with children.

The poll also looked at opinions on the Medicare and Medi-Cal programs, the federal health insurance programs for seniors and low-income California residents. The vast majority of voters said Medicare is important to them and their families, at 81 percent, and the number of those saying the same about Medi-Cal jumped 7 percent from 2011 to 58 percent.

Seventy-nine percent of the same voters said Medicare was successful in meeting its goals, almost the same amount as those who viewed it as important. Two in three, 64 percent, of voters saw Medi-Cal as a success. Majorities of both California Democrats and Republicans viewed the programs as successful.

The poll is the first in a three-part TCWF-Field Poll Health Policy Survey of 1,687 interviews with California voters between June 26 and July 21.

“As the availability of health insurance expands under Obamacare, and with the deadline for every American to get health insurance just a few months away, a majority of Californians have personal experience with the need to make health insurance more affordable,” said Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog, in a statement. “Yet California is one of the few states where health insurance companies still don’t have to justify their prices before raising rates.”

The organization used the report to tout the Health Insurance Rate Justification Act, on the ballet for November 2014 which they say would “make health insurance rates more transparent” and give the state insurance commissioner the ability to reject high rates. Health insurance premiums went up by 170 percent in the past decade, according to the California HealthCare Foundation.

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