confused over health reform?

Apparently you aren’t alone…

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law three years ago, but a new poll indicates that the public knows less about the law today than they did three years ago.

The poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly two-thirds of uninsured adults – the very people the law is supposed to help – don’t know what the law means or how they will be impacted.

It’s been three years since President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, yet two-thirds of uninsured adults — the very people the law sets out to help — say they still don’t know what it means for them.  Furthermore, the general public doesn’t seem to know what steps their respective states are taking.

According to the federal government, enrollment for new coverage in the exchanges and Medicaid expansion is set to begin on October 1st of this year. Yet nearly half of those polled said they didn’t know if their state would be running its own health insurance exchange.  Nearly 80% had no idea if their state was planning to expand Medicaid or not – regardless of whether that state’s governor had announced Medicaid expansion plans.

The public appears to know less about the positive aspects of the law than they did three years ago, including tax credits to small business to buy insurance, subsidy assistance for individuals and guaranteed issue of health insurance.  And false impressions still run rampant.  57% incorrectly believe that the ACA includes a public option. Almost half think the law provides health insurance or financial assistance to illegal immigrants, and 40%, including 35% of seniors, still believe the law will create so called “death panels”.

I’m not one to normally criticize our sitting President, but the evidence from polls like this suggest that the Obama Administration has failed miserably and continues to do a poor job at communicating key provisions of the Affordable Care Act to the people who matter most – the general public.  This might explain the continued resistance to the law on the part of conservatives; if the public were better informed, perhaps our politicians would put plans to overturn the ACA to rest…

kff-poll-chart

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About justgngr

the ramblings of a medical professional by day, judgmental ginger by night
This entry was posted in health policy, medicine, politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to confused over health reform?

  1. sqhc says:

    Reblogged this on Students for Quality Health Care and commented:
    Clearly we need to do a better job of getting critical information out…

    Which is why we’ll be hosting a panel on Communicating Key Aspects of the Affordable Care Act on March 19th, details to come!

  2. Though I agree with your conclusions, my take on why differs. If the public is presented with two versions of what’s in a law, one simpler and one more complex. they will choose to believe the simpler version. Unfortunately, the simpler version happens to be untruthful, an intentional deceit presented for political purposes.

    The Act always had the disadvantage of being a nuanced, complex approach to an equally complex problem. People want emotionally appealing, easy-to-understand solutions that can be expressed in sound bites. It’s true that the Obama Administration has failed to “dumb it down” enough for TV, but telling lies about what’s in the law was far less challenging to its opponents.

    • I thought the Internet would immunize people against propaganda. I was wrong. The ACA is a good example — there is plenty of reliable information on the Internet about the ACA but people just believe the din of TV opinion news.

  3. Pingback: need a primer on the health care law? | You Think You Know

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