NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Four in 10 Americans Unaware ObamaCare Is Law of the Land

May 2, 2013

More than three years after the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") was signed into law, Americans are still confused about what the bill does and whether or not it is even law. A new Kaiser Family Foundation public opinion poll finds that a large percentage of the lay public is unclear about the legal status of ObamaCare or whether Medicaid should be expanded.

  • The survey, which called 1,203 adults over the age of 18 living in the United States, found that 40 percent of respondents received information about the health care law from conversations with friends and family, and 36 percent from newspapers, radio news or other online sources, but only 11 percent from their doctor, 11 percent from an employer, 9 percent from a federal agency and 8 percent from a state agency.
  • The poll found that as income rises, the percent of people who say they have gotten any information about the health care law increases and that the insured are more likely to have received information than the uninsured.
  • The survey also finds that people with unfavorable views of the law receive information from the same sources as people with a favorable view of the law, and that more people hear bad things than good things about the law. Most report hearing a mix of good and bad.

Overall, an astonishing four in 10 people polled in the survey were unaware that ObamaCare is law, with 51 percent of those age 18-29 and 59 percent of those with incomes less than $30,000 unaware of the law's status.

  • About half the public says they do not have enough information about the health reform law, with Hispanics more likely than whites or blacks to report a dearth of information.
  • Only 35 percent of people in the survey reported a favorable view of the law, while 40 percent had an unfavorable view and 24 percent reported they have no opinion on the law.
  • Over half say opponents should continue blocking the law but a majority disapproves of defunding as the appropriate mechanism.

The poll finds that 41 percent of those surveyed think Medicaid should stay as it is while 50 percent think it should be expanded. Views on whether states should expand Medicaid differed sharply by partisan identification. The poll reveals that the public is still just as split over ObamaCare today as it was upon being signed into law.

Source: "Public Opinion on Health Care Issues," Kaiser Family Foundation, April 2013.


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