AARP Survey Finds Health Care and Economy Are Top Issues for 50+ Californians

Mar 03, 2011, 12:00 ET from AARP

Large majorities favor preserving funding for K-12 and higher education, home-care services for elderly; some taxes supported

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Californians over the age of 50 are concerned about having access to affordable health care as they age, according to a new AARP survey. Yet, while 90% of respondents say adequate health coverage is critical, only one in four think they currently have the amount of coverage they need.

"These results confirm what we already suspected," said AARP California State President David Pacheco. "Older Californians agree on what they need to live their best lives, but a significant number of them feel those needs are not currently met."

The telephone survey of 50+ Californians, which was conducted between January 2nd and January 31st, also found that the state of the economy is a top issue of concern. More specifically, 50+ Californians are worried about potentially drastic cuts to state services. When asked what services should be protected from budget cuts, 85% said funding for K-12 education should be preserved.

Pacheco is not surprised: "50+ Californians clearly care deeply about their communities and the future of their state – but they care even more about providing a prosperous future for their children and grandchildren. In fact, the idea that older people care only for their own, narrow interests was always a myth," he said.

Other state services considered vital by large majorities of respondents included firefighters, police and parks (80%); transportation, construction and road maintenance (77%); funding for public colleges and universities (73%); home-care services that keep people out of nursing homes (72%); and health care access for the uninsured (66%).  

When asked about potential sources of revenue for the state, large majorities favored increasing the tax on alcoholic beverages (70%), increasing the tax on cigarettes (69%), and raising income tax rates for households earning more than $250,000 annually (66%).

Other potential taxes proved less popular, including increasing licensing and user fees (51% opposed), tapping into the state's "rainy day fund" (38% opposed, 36% in favor, 12% neutral), and increasing the state sales tax rate (53% opposed).

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.