Poll Reveals Californians’ Views on ACA, Medi-Cal, and Insurance for Behavioral Health Treatment

Mark DiCamillo, Director, Berkeley IGS Poll


With support from CHCF, the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) at UC Berkeley conducted a statewide survey of Californians to assess their attitudes about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medi-Cal, and health insurance coverage of treatment for mental health and substance use disorders. The findings were released in two installments in June 2017.

The first installment, which focused on respondents’ answers to questions about the ACA and Medi-Cal, found the following:

  • More than half (56%) of Californians surveyed are worried that they or someone in their family will lose coverage if the ACA is repealed and replaced.
  • Support for the ACA is now at a record high, with supporters outnumbering opponents by greater than a two-to-one margin (65% to 26%), with 45% supporting it strongly.
  • 88% of Californians say Medi-Cal is important to the state (72% say very important, 16% say somewhat important). This acknowledgment of the importance of the program was shared widely across the state’s regions and political parties; 75% of California Republicans deem the program important.
  • More than two in three (69%) Californians say Medi-Cal is important to them and to their families (53% very important, 16% somewhat important).

The second installment, which focused on respondents’ answers to questions about insurance coverage for mental health conditions and substance use disorder, found the following:

  • Three in four Californians surveyed (74%) believe this coverage is very important.
  • Two in three say they would be very likely to seek professional help for a mental health condition (66%) or for an alcohol or drug use problem (65%).
  • Three in four say they believe that treatment for mental health conditions (75%) and alcohol or drug use problems (77%) can help people lead healthy and productive lives.

The data are further broken down by region, age, race, gender, and income. To learn more, read the Berkeley IGS press release and charts of key findings (available under Document Downloads below).