Poll Shows Californians’ Health Priorities for New Governor and Legislature

Access to mental health care is a top concern statewide


After the Golden State elected a new governor in November 2018, CHCF and KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) jointly conducted a statewide poll of California residents. The goal was to assess their views of health priorities as the governor and legislature got to work early in 2019.

In the poll, Californians rank making health care more affordable among their top overall priorities for the state’s governor and legislature, with 45% citing it as “extremely important,” just behind improving public education (48%) and ahead of affordable housing (40%).

Among health issues, Californians’ top priorities are ensuring people with mental health problems can get treatment (49% say it is “extremely important”), making sure all Californians have access to health coverage (45%), and reducing what people pay for their health care (41%).

Mental health access ranks in the top two health priorities for Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike. Half of all Californians (52%) say their community does not have enough mental health providers to meet its needs.

“We have never before seen the public place such strong emphasis on access to mental health treatment in our national or state polls,” said KFF’s President and CEO Drew Altman, PhD.

“There is a strong sense of urgency in these mental health findings,” said Sandra R. Hernández, MD, president and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation. “Californians are telling us loud and clear that more should be done to expand and improve mental health treatment.”

The full report, available below, shows data broken down by region, age, race, gender, and income. Also available are a post on The CHCF Blog covering five key takeaways, “What Matters Most to Californians,” a press release about the poll, and the “topline” (PDF) (methodology, key results, and a complete question list).