New Public Opinion Polls on Health Care Reform

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The Kaiser Health Tracking Poll is out for November 2011 with a summary of public opinion on health care reform. The much-politicized Affordable Care Act (ACA) was recently accepted by the Supreme Court for review and will likely go before the court in  spring 2012. The new Kaiser polls see a plurality of participants (44%) disapprove of the law overall, though some of the law’s provisions receive resounding support. For example, 84% of people favor the requirement that health plans provide simple benefit summaries and 75% approve of subsidies to help pay for coverage. It will be interesting to see how much the upcoming court decision reflects public opinion.

Unfortunately, some of the data in these polls reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of the law. More than half of participants (56%) think the law includes a new government-run insurance plan (it does not) and more than a third (35%) think the law will let the government make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare (again, it does not).  There is a lot of confusion about how health care will look in 2014 when the ACA takes effect.

If you are unsure about how health care reform will impact your mental health services, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has some great resources to check out. The only way to know for sure if you support the law is to get educated.

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