National health care reform will improve the health of Angelenos who currently suffer from substandard care that costs too much, according to a survey of local leaders in the health care field conducted by the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University.

The survey found that the top minds in health care in Los Angeles largely trust President Barack Obama’s leadership on reforming the system and that most consider lowering the cost of health care and increasing the number of people who have insurance to be equally important issues.

The results of the preliminary survey were announced April 22nd at a panel discussion hosted by the Leavey Center.

“Los Angeles County is home to numerous world-class hospitals, clinics, and research facilities, but many residents are unable to access quality care,” said Fernando Guerra, director of the Leavey Center. “However, leaders in this field believe the recently approved health care reform package can help.”

The study’s findings include:

Regarding the quality of the public’s health care in Los Angeles County, 74 percent were somewhat or very dissatisfied, 21 percent somewhat satisfied, and zero very satisfied.

Survey respondents supported a universal health program in Los Angeles — even if it meant paying higher health premiums or taxes (64 percent), but would oppose a program if it limited their choice of doctors (54 percent).

Leaders were largely split as to whether insurance companies should be able to charge higher premiums to people with alcohol dependency or weight problems, as 48 percent said yes. But 71 percent approved of higher premiums for cigarette smokers.

Researchers at the Leavey Center sent the survey in February to health care leaders throughout Los Angeles County, including: researchers and professors at local universities, advocates from nonprofit groups, medical administrators, hospital administrators and others.

The survey was funded by a grant from Kaiser Permanente to support the health care sector of the Leavey Center’s Leadership Initiative, a multi-year study to survey 100 leaders in education, health, arts and culture, media and entertainment, politics, business, community, land use and housing, law, and religion and spirituality.

The complete results of the survey will be available this summer.

Information, www.lmu.edu/lcsla/.

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