Poll: Two Thirds of IL Voters Support Funding Critical Health Programs Through Sugary Drinks Tax

May 27, 2015, 08:00 ET from Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity

CHICAGO, May 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new poll shows that 65% of Illinois voters support the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Act, a proposal to raise $600 million for Medicaid and community health and prevention programs through a penny per ounce tax on sugary drinks. At a time when the Illinois General Assembly and Governor are looking for ways to raise revenue, the poll reinforces that the public is receptive to this innovative solution to fund critical health programs.

About half of the revenue generated will be invested in programs that improve access to healthy foods and increase opportunities for physical activity in communities. The other half will be allocated to chronic disease prevention programs and important Medicaid services.

Elissa Bassler, Executive Director of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity said, "Nearly two-thirds of voters strongly believe that the HEAL Act is a great option to help us fund critical health programs to reduce disease and save on future healthcare costs."

When asked about specific benefits the proposal could fund, the poll found strong public support for:

  • community health programs (70%)
  • biking and walking trails in communities (72%)
  • health education in schools and communities (80%)
  • more access to healthy foods at farmers' markets and grocery stores (84%)

Illinoisans would also like to see investments to add more coverage for preventive care in Medicaid (76%), and to provide more funding to Medicaid overall (68%). The public strongly supported including accountability measures in the proposal, such as ensuring the funds go to the communities of greatest need (77%) and to improve health in Illinois (81%). The poll also found that only 18% of voters support Medicaid funding cuts in Illinois.

The poll was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research (ALG), a national public opinion research firm, and commissioned by the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity.

The primary goal of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity is to ensure that trends in obesity in Illinois are stable in 2015 and moving downward by 2018. The statewide coalition of over 140 organizations works to implement solutions to the obesity epidemic through coordinated and comprehensive policy, systems, and environmental changes.

SOURCE Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity