Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Poll: Americans better understand, still don’t love, health-care reform

Lake forming behind an Ice Dam

The recent melt-down of the Affordable Care Act's opening of the Health.gov website served to cast a spotlight on the entire law.  More than 60% of the public pretend to know what it is about. That is about the same as Congress knew when they voted to enact the bill into law.

Despite and perhaps because of it's sudden visibility and the topic of all news media most know of it's shortcomings and how it was passed with major deceptions on the part of the Democrats, HHS, and President Obama's administration.

According to the Seattle Times, "A poll released today by Harris Interactive dug more deeply into the opinions of the uninsured, who face penalties if they don’t get insurance by March of next year. The survey found that more than one-third of uninsured Americans say they are prepared to make health-insurance choices — but 31 percent said they didn’t know about the health insurance exchanges set up to sell the coverage.
On top of that, 61 percent of the uninsured say they have done “nothing” in the past year to get ready for the Affordable Care Act. More than half say they don’t know what they’re going to do about the requirement that they get insurance."

As you may recall, it’s been rough going since the Oct. 1 launch of online insurance markets created to enroll people in individual insurance plans. The federal site, which serves 36 states, essentially wasn’t working for weeks and only really kicked into gear over the last week or soWashington state’s site had some hiccups, then got itself sorted out, but in the past few days has been down again for software fixes.
Added to those technical glitches like a bee sting on a raging sunburn was the outcry by folks who learned their individual and family insurance plans were being canceled at the end of the year. People felt betrayed by President Obama’s promise that if you liked your health care plan, you could keep it.
A survey conducted and released last week by Gallup found that only 37 percent of Americans approve of the Affordable Care Act or would like to see it expanded while 52 percent want it revised or repealed (the rest are undecided).
The crazy thing — given all of the recent attention to the problems with the roll out of the health-insurance exchanges — is that public opinion hasn’t changed a whole bunch from the same Gallup survey nearly three years ago. In January 2011, 37 percent of those surveyed approved of the ACA while 57 percent did not.
So it begs the question: How and Why was the ACA passed into law?
Many think this was a major move toward consolidating control of healthcare costs, and giving government a major role in 1/6th of the American Economy. It effectively destroys a major freedom of choice of what Americans buy in a market place.
How could public opinion remain so constant despite the tumult in recent news? It could come down to politics.
The Seattle Times teamed up with the Elway Poll in September to take the ACA pulse of Washington residents. It turned out that public opinion on health-care reform largely hewed with political leanings.
In that survey, 80 percent of Democrats approved of the Affordable Care Act, while 80 percent of Republicans did not.
This may reflect more upon the discordance between Democrats and Republicans overall, including budget difficulties which are also severe given the expanding national debt.  Republicans are vehement about corraling the national debit, which will again take canter stage in March 2014.

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