Monday, November 30, 2009

Latinos Overwhelmingly Support Health Care Reform That Includes Public Option

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- A new poll released today by Latino Decisions, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico (UNM-RWJF Center), and impreMedia, shows a widespread consensus among the Latino/Hispanic electoral about the importance of health care reform and indicates significant support for expansion of coverage. For the first time, health care tops the list of national issues identified by respondents as the most important issue Congress and the President need to address. This is particularly impressive, given that in April 2009 a similar Latino Decisions poll found that only 6% of the Latino electorate had identified health care as the most important issue.

The national survey of 1,000 Latino registered voters shows that there is broad-based and overwhelming support not just for health care reform, but 74% support a plan that includes a public option to compete with private insurance programs, 67% say health care should be made available regardless of citizenship or legal residency, and 61% would still like to see universal health care. "This poll suggests that a bill with the public option that also provides access to those who are non-citizens will be looked upon favorably by the Latino electorate," said Gabriel Sanchez of the UNM-RWJF Center.

The survey of those polled also found, that despite Latinos being heavily courted by the candidates for their support during the presidential elections, a large segment (44%) of the Latino population feels that their needs have not been taken into account during the national health care debate. "Lawmakers will once again tackle health care reform when they return to Washington after the Thanksgiving recess, and this poll strongly suggests that they have to do a much better job of addressing the needs of the nation's fastest growing electorate," said Latino Decisions Investigator, Matt Barreto.

"We are at a historic moment when real health care reform is possible and Latinos want to see Congress take action," said Monica Lozano, SVP of impreMedia. "How much they take these into account will be important as we move into the mid-term elections of 2010," said Lozano.

The executive summary of the poll results is available online at:

The top-line results from the survey are available online at:

The demographic profile of those surveyed can be found online at:

Survey of Latino registered voters on Health Care Reform - Executive Summary

by Matt A. Barreto & Gary Segura, Latino Decisions
November 30, 2009

A new poll of Latino/Hispanic registered voters finds widespread consensus about the importance of health care reform and significant support for robust efforts in this direction. The poll, commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico, and impreMedia and administered by Latino Decisions, queried 1,000 Hispanic registered voters from November 1-16 regarding their views about politics in general, the nation's health care debate and their views of the administration.

Overall, Latino registered voters are very supportive of efforts to reform the nation's health care system, and show especially strong support for including the 'public option' as part of the reform effort. While President Obama continues to enjoy strong support from the Latino electorate, less than 1 in 7 survey respondents felt the needs of the Hispanic community were fully taken into account during the health reform debate.

Health Care the Nation's Most-Important-Problem

When asked what "the most important issue that President Obama and the Congress should address over the next year":

  • 32% reported health care, 30% identified the economy--including jobs and mortgage issues, 17% picked immigration as the biggest issue, while another 9% identified the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • In April 2009, a Latino Decisions poll found 56% of Latinos stated the economy was the top issue, compared to just 6% who mentioned health care
  • Priorities differ between native born and naturalized citizens.
  • Naturalized citizens identified the economy (33%) and immigration (28%) more frequently than health (25%) and the wars (4%).
  • US-born Hispanics identified health (37%), the economy (28%), and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (14%) as more urgent than immigration (7%).
Urgency of Health Reform

There is widespread consensus among Latino/Hispanic citizens regarding the urgency of both health care reform, and immigration reform.

  • Among all Hispanic registered voters, 84% report that it is important for Congress to pass a bill on immigration before the 2010 election.
  • Similarly, 86% report that it is important for Congress to pass a bill on health reform before the 2010 election.
  • Both are considered more urgent to the foreign born naturalized citizens (85% and 91% respectively) than to the US born (82% for each).
  • When asked which of the two was the more important, two-thirds (67%) of respondents picked health reform, compared to just 20% for immigration reform, and 10% thought they were of equal importance.
  • This order of priority is consistent between immigrant citizens and the native born, with 62% of the foreign born and 69% of the U.S. born indicating health care was more important.
  • While immigration reform looms as a very important concern to the Latino electorate, passing health care reform is such a grave concern that it's importance outpaces immigration reform by over a 3-1 margin
Policy Preferences in Health Reform

  • Hispanics prefer some form of universal health insurance, even if it means higher taxes, to the current system, 61% to 28%
  • The number of uninsured (30%) is most often cited as the principal motivation for reform, with cost control (23%) and affordability (22%) rounding out the top three.
  • Those opposed to universal health insurance are only partially motivated by anti-government sentiment, which receive great attention in the media. Among those opposed to universal health insurance, 33% said they were against government take-over, however more than a quarter (27%) stated they needed more information or clarity on the health care reform process
  • The public option has robust support among Hispanic voters. 74% of Latinos would "somewhat" or "strongly" support its inclusion in the final bill. This number is significantly higher than in the nation as a whole (56%, CNN 11/15; 61% CBS, 11/16);
  • 67% think everyone should be covered, without regard to citizenship or immigration status, while only a quarter (25%) would restrict benefits to citizens and legal residents only. Not surprisingly, immigrant citizen sentiment favors full inclusion (80%) at significantly higher rates than US born 59%, however a clear majority of Latinos, both foreign and U.S. born support inclusion in health care services to all those living in America
Hispanics' needs are great, sense of influence modest.

The issue of health is of critical importance to many respondents, with high rates of uninsured Nevertheless, Hispanics have a decidedly mixed evaluation regarding whether their views are considered.

  • 20% report having gone without insurance for at least one month sometime in the last two years, and 16% were without insurance on the day of their interview;
  • Only 14% believe that public officials care very much about the Hispanic communities health care needs when crafting the health legislation, and 36% said only somewhat. A substantial percentage -- 44% -- report believing that public officials don't consider their needs much or at all.
  • Regarding the quality and costs of the current medical system, 49% of Latino voters said they were very satisfied with the quality of care they receive, and 31% were very satisfied with the costs of care, suggesting many in the Latino community are less than satisfied about their current health care situation.
Congress and President enjoy approval among Latinos

President Obama remains widely popular among Hispanic registered voters.

  • 74% somewhat or strongly approve of the job being done by President Obama, only 23% disapprove; in April 2009, 81% of Hispanic voters approved of Obama
  • Obama is somewhat more popular among foreign born Latinos, holding 79% approval, compared to 72% among U.S. born
  • 52% somewhat or strongly approve of the performance of Congress, 37% disapprove; in April 2009, 67% of Hispanic voters approved of Congress

In November 2009 Latino Decisions fielded a national survey of Latino registered voters on issues related to health care reform. Latino Decisions partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico, and impreMedia, and all phone calls were administered by Pacific Market Research in Renton, WA. The poll was overseen by Drs. Matt Barreto and Gary Segura, experts in Latino public opinion. A total of 1,000 Latino registered voters were interviewed, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1%. Latino registered voters were identified through a Spanish surname match against the statewide list of registered voters in 21 states*. Latino Decisions selected the top 21 states with the highest number of Latino registered voters, and taken together, they account for over 90% of the Latino electorate. Telephone calls were conducted in English and Spanish, at the discretion of the respondent, and all respondent's who were interviewed self' identified as Latino or Hispanic and registered to vote. Overall, 54% of respondents were born in the United States, 39% were foreign born, and 6% born in Puerto Rico and 65% of interviews were completed in English and 35% in Spanish. The survey was approximately 22 minutes long, and was fielded from November 1 - November 16, 2009. For more information, please visit or call 877-271-2300.

1 comment:

  1. This is because many think that they will get something for nothing. H.C. needs reform and more flexibility for those in job transition but please, let’s not make a federal case out of it. If you are in this country under any sort of legal status or even as a guest worker or student, good if you can get some sort of H.C. benefits, but I hope that this does not become a free lunch buffet for all.