The majority of Californians support making affordable, quality health coverage available to all according to a recent bipartisan poll commissioned by The California Endowment. The study echoes findings released by the Field Poll in August showing majority support for expanding Medi-Cal to the undocumented.
Although California has cut its uninsured population in half – an estimated 3.4 million people have gained access to health care – millions of Californians are still uninsured. More than 1.4 million Californians will remain ineligible for health care coverage due to their immigration status – a fact for which most Californians disagree.
Among the latest findings, 54 percent of Californian voters believe Medi-Cal and Covered California should be expanded to everyone, regardless of their immigration status. Survey participants believe that improving access to preventive care is crucial to reducing overall health care costs and boosting public health.
Not surprisingly, youth showed the strongest support for extending access to care to all Californians. An overwhelming majority of young voters and communities of color – the state’s fastest growing part of the electorate – support extending coverage to undocumented Californians currently excluded from the Affordable Care Act. Younger populations and the growing minority communities see an expansion of health care access to all as a social justice issue and the right thing to do.
This growing social justice movement is strengthened by voters who understand that undocumented Californians are part of the fabric of our communities – they are our neighbors and colleagues. They work hard and contribute to the state, making up nearly 9 percent of the workforce. Recently, a California Immigrant Policy Center study found that undocumented workers contribute $130 billion to California’s GDP and have paid $2.9 billion in taxes in 2010 alone.
Californians are not only viewing the policy change positively – they also view elected officials, including Governor Brown – more positively if they support expanding access to health care.
California has led the nation in implementing the Affordable Care Act. With strong public support, the state has an opportunity to expand its legacy by providing health coverage to ALL Californians.