A majority of Californians say they support the new federal health care law but view it as just the first step toward fixing the country's much-criticized health care system, according to a Field Poll released today.
These sentiments run counter to those expressed nationally. Other recent polls have found a lukewarm, if not hostile, reception to the $940 billion legislation aimed at widening access to health care for the country's millions of uninsured.
But in California, voters support the law 52 percent to 38 percent, according to the poll conducted in April, just weeks after President Barack Obama signed the health bill.
"By and large, voters in California think it will make things better," said the Field Poll's director, Mark DiCamillo. "But there's still some mixed sentiments, and it's not a completely rosy picture."
One in three Californians, for example, said they want the law repealed — even before many of its provisions can be implemented.
And 58 percent said more changes are needed to fix what they perceive as a broken health care system.
Amber Hall, an uninsured 41-year-old mother of two from the farm town of Hickman near Modesto, welcomed the new law but said she doesn't know if it goes far enough to overhaul a system that hasn't been able to help her.
"We're better off if more people can get coverage when they're sick and need it," she said. "We'll live in a healthier society overall."
She agreed with the majority of Californians that the federal law is just a first step.
"It's the first time anything like this has been done," said Hall, who took part in the poll.
Others believe it's a step the country never should have taken.
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