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A Question Of Health

September 23, 1988|Clipboard researched by Dallas Jamison and Rick VanderKnyff / Los Angeles Times. Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

California Health Decisions is designing ways to implement public recommendations in the health-care field. The ideas are the product of small group meetings held by the grass-roots organization throughout Orange County. Citizens expressed their views verbally and by answering questionnaires. Following are the results culled from 200 of those meetings and more than 2,000 questionnaires.

If I am in a situation where I am not able to speak for myself and a decision has to be made about using technology to prolong my life, I am confident that an appropriate decision will be made on my behalf.

Agree 27%

Disagree 28

Not sure 45

If my close relative is in a coma and not expected to recover, I should have the right to direct the doctors to withhold artificial feeding.

Agree 72%

Disagree 13

Not sure 15

The right of patients to refuse life-prolonging medical treatment should take precedence over other factors, such as doctors' fear of liability, family disagreements, etc.

Agree 91%

Disagree 3

Not sure 6

The government should be involved in deciding whether newborns with serious disabilities should be treated or not, rather than leave those decisions to the parents.

Agree 8%

Disagree 78

Not sure 14

The quality of health services for long-term care patients is as good as can be expected.

Agree 8%

Disagree 66

Not sure 26

All pregnant women should have access to prenatal care.

Agree 91%

Disagree 3

Not sure 6

Everyone in the United States should have adequate health care regardless of ability to pay.

Agree 83%

Disagree 6

Not sure 11

We should make sure that the basic health care needs of all people are met before spending more money on the development of high-technology medicine.

Agree 46%

Disagree 28

Not sure 26

There should be a "means test" for Medicare patients whereby patients over 65 who can afford it would pay more for their own medical care and receive less from the government.

Agree 47%

Disagree 31

Not sure 22

We would be better off if we had a national health care plan whereby health care would be provided by a government agency at little or no cost to anyone who wanted it.

Agree 32%

Disagree 35

Not sure 33

If it would reduce the cost of health care, we should have a system whereby people are required to wait longer for non-emergency health services.

Agree 34%

Disagree 36

Not sure 30

Everyone who needs expensive life-saving procedures (such as organ transplants and open-heart surgery) should have an equal chance at having them, regardless of ability to pay, age, social status, or other non-medical factors.

Agree 59%

Disagree 19

Not sure 22

California's health system should include economic incentives aimed at encouraging healthy life styles.

Agree 77%

Disagree 8

Not sure 15

Note: Percentages exclude those who gave no response, a range of 1-4%.

Source: California Health Decisions

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