There’s a new poll out on the attitude of Californians on health care reform. The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) is the latest survey contributor. The survey shows health care reform is now neck-and-neck with immigration issues at the top of issues Californians care about. Like the recent Field Poll, the PPIC reports a strong demand among voters for substantial changes to the state’s health care system.
Like that Field Poll, this shouldn’t surprise anyone. After months of public pronouncements by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Democratic presidential candidates, the media, Michael Moore and others proclaiming the system to be broken, Californians are coming to the conclusion that the system is, well, broken. (For an excellent analysis of the poll, check out Frank Russo’s post at The California Progress Report.)
This doesn’t mean these polls should be ignored. First off, we couldn’t if we wanted to. Both Governor Schwarzenegger and Legislative Leaders have already issued press releases trumpeting the poll as evidence their health care reform plans have voter support. And in the echo chamber that is Sacramento, the poll will strengthen the conventional wisdom that reforms are needed.
As I posted yesterday, I agree that California has a tremendous opportunity right now to make constructive changes to our current health care system. My prediction that we’d see the Governor’s proposal in bill form on Friday was wrong (although now the rumor is we’ll see it sometime this coming week). I’m anxious to see what the Governor is proposing. Until then, most of the discussion will be on the politics of health care reform. Once the Governor’s plan becomes concrete, the focus should change to the policy of health care reform. Then polls should matter less and the effectiveness of proposed solutions should matter more. “Should” being the operative word.