of his presidency.
About two-thirds of California voters say the law is likely to significantly reduce the ranks of California's uninsured and to include greater protections for consumers, according to the poll. Sixty-two percent of voters support the state's expansion of Medi-Cal coverage to more than 1.6 million low-income Californians by 2015 under the federal law.
However, even in deep-blue California, concerns about the effects of the law persist.
Fifty-seven percent of registered voters say it is likely seniors enrolled in Medicare will see their health benefits reduced as a result of the law, and 54 percent of voters say people who are now insured will likely be forced to change their health plans or doctors, even if they don't want to.
Public opinion about what action, if any, Congress should take on health care mirrors voters' overall opinion of the law, with 51 percent of voters in support of keeping or expanding the law and 38 percent wanting to repeal part or all of it.
Glenn Felder, a Republican from Red Bluff, said the health care law is an affront to his free-market principles.
"I believe in our intended capitalistic system of government, that you work and provide for yourself," said Felder, who owned a title insurance and escrow company before retiring in 1995. "And during my lifetime, I'm 74 now, I've seen it swaying from where a person was dependent on themselves to where you're dependent on the government."
California became the first state in the nation to enact legislation establishing a public health insurance marketplace, and Covered California this month announced a list of insurance companies that have signed contracts to sell health plans on the exchange.
Alan Barnes, a Democrat from Carmichael, intends to enroll. The 47-year-old lawyer said he has been uninsured on and off for 13 years, ever since he opened his own law firm.
Because he and his wife and two teenage daughters are relatively young and healthy, Barnes said, he feels a responsibility to participate in an exchange that depends on healthy enrollees to contain costs. Furthermore, Barnes said, "It's a little bit scary ... If I contract cancer or have a heart attack, and suddenly have hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, we're bankrupt."
The health care overhaul puts much of the responsibility for enactment on state governments. California voters by a nearly 2-1 margin say they trust state government more than the federal government to implement the law.
However, 15 percent of voters volunteered they trust neither the state nor federal government to implement the law, though they were not presented with that response as an option.
"Fifteen percent, that's pretty high for a volunteered remark," DiCamillo said. "Cynicism toward government, you know."
(c)2013 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)
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