Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Over 40 Percent Of Americans Don’t Know If "Obama Cares" Is Still Law

Despite the fact that Obamacare has been in place for over three years at this point, a lot of Americans still remain confused about the specific nature of the health reform law. Last month, a Kaiser Health poll revealed that many Americans still can’t correctly identify Obamacare’s provisions. Now, Kaiser’s most recent polling finds that 42 percent of Americans aren’t sure about whether Obamacare is law at all. Seven percent of survey respondents believed the Supreme Court overturned it, and 12 percent thought Congress had repealed it:


Of course, now that Obamacare has survived a Supreme Court challenge, dozens of repeal efforts, and a presidential election, even Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has admitted that it’s the “law of the land.” Nonetheless, as administration officials prepare for the full implementation of the law and ready the state-level insurance markets to open in 2014, they still have a long way to go when it comes to fully educating the American public about it.

Kaiser found that Americans’ education gaps fall along class lines, as wealthier Americans are more likely to have heard something about health care reform from newspapers, radio, or online sources. Just 30 percent of those with lower incomes reported that they had received information about Obamacare from those sources. That’s especially problematic because many low-income Americans stand to significantly benefit from the health law, as they will become eligible for federal assistance to help them afford insurance coverage on the state marketplaces. Still, 58 percent of uninsured Americans and 56 percent of low-income Americans told Kaiser that they don’t know how Obamacare will impact their lives.

The good news, as Wonkblog’s Sarah Kliff points out, is that there’s still some time to change the tide. Obamacare’s new health care options still won’t be available for another seven months, and some health care advocates point out that it might be confusing to tout a product that isn’t accessible yet. This summer, the nonprofit Enroll America — which hopes to increase public awareness about the impending health reform benefits — will ramp up its campaign to try to reach those four in ten Americans who still remain confused.


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