Publications / The 2024 CHCF California Health Policy Survey

The 2024 CHCF California Health Policy Survey

Annually since 2019, the California Health Care Foundation has funded a representative, statewide survey of residents’ opinions and experiences on a variety of health care topics. NORC at the University of Chicago conducted the survey again in late 2023. Key themes and findings from this year’s survey include these:

What do Californians say about the quality of mental health care? Dissatisfaction with mental health care is high among Californians, especially those who have direct experience with the system. Specifically, two in three Californians believe improvement is needed in the treatment of people with serious mental illness (SMI), with 42% saying “significant” improvement is needed. Among those who say that they or someone close to them has needed treatment for SMI, 63% say “significant” improvement is needed (see Figure 45 in the report).


How is the cost of health care affecting Californians? Californians, especially those with low incomes, continue to be burdened by high health care costs and medical debt. More than one in three Californians (38%), and over half of Californians with low incomes (52%), report having medical debt (see Figure 25 in the report). (The survey asked various other questions related to affordability, including if respondents skipped care due to cost, were worried about unexpected medical bills, and more.)

What do Californians say are important health care priorities for state government? Reducing what people pay for health care and improving access to mental health care are top of mind for Californians, with 80% of all Californians saying both priorities are “extremely” or “very” important (see Figure 5 in the report).


Do Californians think the state has made progress toward racial equity in health care? The data reveal mixed views. Specifically, 43% of Californians overall believe the state has made “a great deal of” or “some” progress in achieving racial equity in health care. Similar percentages of Californians across race and income also believed “a great deal of” or “some” progress has been made. However, Black (44%) and Latino/x (33%) Californians are more likely than White Californians (20%) to think the state has made “only a little” or “no progress at all” (see Figure 18 in the report).

Explore Californians’ opinions and experiences related to other health care topics, including extreme weather and health, artificial intelligence in health care, waiting for authorization for doctor-recommended care, and much more.

About the Authors

Additional authors from NORC at the University of Chicago include Larry Bye, senior fellow; Vicki Pineau, principal statistician; and Lin Liu, statistician.

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