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San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

California Health Policy Poll Released

The California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) recently released its second annual California Health Policy Survey. It provides insights into Californians’ experiences and attitudes about health coverage, health care costs, access to care, mental health, substance use treatment, the health care workforce, and homelessness. The poll was done in conjunction with SSRS, a national survey research firm.

Mental Health Ranks #1

Among health issues, Californians’ top priority is ensuring people with mental health problems can get treatment (52% say it is “extremely important”). Next is lowering the price of prescription drugs (47% extremely important), followed by making sure all Californians have health insurance (46% extremely important).


As it did last year, access to mental health care ranks in the top two health priorities for Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike. 


"For too long, the health care system has treated mental health concerns as a second-tier issue,” said CHCF President and CEO Sandra R. Hernández, MD. “For two years in a row, the people of California are sending a clear message that this is the top health care issue they want addressed."  


The poll also found that large numbers of Californians who need mental health care struggle to get it. Among those with insurance who tried to make an appointment for mental health care in the past 12 months, nearly half (48%) found it very or somewhat difficult to find a provider who took their insurance. Over half (52%) of those who tried to make an appointment (with or without insurance) believe they waited longer than was reasonable to get one.

More Are Worried about the Cost of Health Care

Californians rank health care affordability as a top priority among a range of public challenges presented in the poll—with 84% of respondents citing it as extremely or very important. Support for making health care more affordable cut across party identification, race, and income lines.  


Compared to last year, more Californians are worried about paying for a variety of health care costs. Just over half of Californians (51%) have skipped or postponed physical or mental health care due to cost — up from 44% last year. Of those who took such a step, 42% said it made their condition worse.


Increases in Worry Over Health Care Costs and Skipping/ Postponing Treatment Due to Cost Over the Last Year



Visit CHCF’s website to explore the full report, which shows data broken down by region, age, race, gender, and income. Also available are a post on The CHCF Blog covering key takeaways, a press release about the poll, and the "topline" (methodology, key results, and a complete question list). 

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