March polling on the Affordable Care Act

Wow. I almost went through the week without an obligatory blog post on the monthly Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. This time, though, I’ll forego the usual “a majority of Americans want to keep the Affordable Care Act or expand it.” This month Kaiser continues with the Supreme Court questions, pulling out this gem of ignorance:

This is interesting (beyond the obvious) because many of the other questions surrounded respondents feelings towards the judicial approach to deciding whether the ACA is constitutional. Thus, even though a good chunk of them are wrong or unsure about the current status of the law they still have an opinion on it.

Another aspect of opinion is that, even if SCOTUS were to overturn the ACA, people are still interested in pursuing health care reform:

I consider this a good thing, because they’re even more right than they realize. Regardless of the eventual outcome from SCOTUS, and the 2012 elections, health care reform is not done in this country. There are still important and pressing issues to deal with – foremost around Medicare but also with Medicaid. One common line of criticism brought up by ACA opponents is that those aspects of health care that are ancillary or ignored by the law is indicative of the law’s failure. Yet the ACA was never meant to be the end of health care reform. It was primarily a reform of health care access and to a lesser (even insufficient) extent cost control. Essentially, what the SOCTUS case and forthcoming elections will decide is what starting point will be established for future reform.

One of the problems that we’ll need to address, whatever the future starting point, is getting people to understand how reform might personally affect them. That phenomena of ignorance seems to be a trend:

So people don’t know enough about the ACA to understand how it will impact them and also leads to this:

Having such little information means they don’t know that all the reform aspects they favor are already the law. It also allows motivated individuals and organizations to more easily mislead people:

Thus you have 56 percent of Americans thinking that death-panels exist (or don’t know) and 70 percent erroneously sure or unaware that the ACA created a new government run insurance plan.


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