According to a just-released Field Poll, the proposed $14B California government health insurance expansion, which would be built on the backs of smokers ($1.50 to $2.00 a pack increase), business owners in the state (1% to 6% payroll tax increase), and hospitals ($2.3B in additional state taxes) is overwhelmingly supported by California voters -- including Republicans.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
The survey was drawn from random telephone interviews with 1,283 registered voters from Dec. 10-17, and it had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.Much like other governmental intrusions on the market -- which, as always, are funded by taking more money from the taxpayers -- this program will wreak havoc on the already turbulent California economy.
Seventy-four percent of Democrats surveyed said they support the health care plan, while 52 percent of Republicans were in favor and 61 percent of independent voters. Other demographic factors such as region, gender, age and income did not seem to diminish enthusiasm.
The proposal had 68 percent support among voters in the San Francisco area and was backed by 67 percent in Los Angeles County. It also was supported in more conservative parts of the state, including Orange County, with 54 percent, and San Diego County, with 60 percent.
"Majority support among every subgroup is very unique," said [Mark] DiCamillo [director of the Field Poll]. "I think there's a strong perception that something needs to be done, that the system is broken and it needs to be fixed."
Sabrina Lockhart, spokeswoman for the governor, said that the poll is a "clear reflection about how people of California feel about health care reform" and it gives Schwarzenegger a good starting point for campaigning for its passage.
According to the Sacramento Bee:
The main reasons given by respondents who opposed the plan were that it would expand the role of government in health care, require people to purchase coverage and place too much of a burden on small businesses that can't afford the cost.It sounds like at least a few Californians actually understand that government programs aren't funded in a vacuum -- or entirely with other people's money.
A new $14B government program is rarely a good idea, regardless of the circumstances. A new $14B government program in the state ranked 47th best in the nation for business, which leans on businesses to make up a great deal of the program cost, is a terrible idea. Doing so while running a $14B state deficit is even more foolish.
If this Field Poll is even close to being correct, it appears that the people of California are ready and willing to go along with that foolishness. When their cigarettes are $5 per pack, their hospital bills are steeper than ever, and their jobs are exported to Nevada (the 3rd ranked state for business in the US), then perhaps all of those who supported this program will finally realize that, in the end, they actually had to pay for that which they thought was being given them for free.
Perhaps. But I wouldn't advise holding your breath.
Jeff Emanuel is a research fellow for Health Care policy at the Heartland Institute and is managing editor of Health Care News.