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People marginally favor ACA these days

Health Care and Health Insurance
by Finn Knox-Seith
National uninsurance rate declined again last year
National uninsurance rate declined again last year

Over the past few years, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has obviously been a major concern for a lot of people nationwide. Over that time, it has been rare that more people actually favored the law than disliked it, but that consequence came to pass once again in April.

This month, 43 percent of Americans said they had a favorable view of the ACA, marginally outstripping the 42 percent whose view was unfavorable, according to the latest Health Tracking Poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Another 14 percent said they had no opinion or refused to answer.

That's the highest level of favorable opinions observed in the survey since late 2012, and likewise that was the last time more people liked the law than disliked it, the report said. The highest-ever favorable rate came in July 2010, soon after the law was passed, and ranked at 50 percent. Since then, unfavorable views have been very much the norm, with the all-time high being the 53 percent observed last July.

Other views on the law
However, it seems that many Americans tend to not fully understand what the law does or how much it costs, the report said. Currently the ACA is costing taxpayers less than was originally anticipated - based on estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office - but only 8 percent thought that might be the case. Another 18 percent thought the cost was roughly the same as was originally anticipated. But overall, 50 percent said they believed that the law cost more than originally thought, which is not the case.

Interestingly, though, 56 percent of respondents said that the law had no impact on them whatsoever, the report said. At the same time, though, 19 percent said the ACA has helped them, while 22 percent said it's hurt them in some way.

Finally, some 68 percent of people say that they feel they have enough to cover the cost of their normal medical bills, but only 55 percent felt the same way about major medical issues that required hospitalization. But among people who do not have health insurance, those numbers drop to 24 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

For these reasons, it might be wise for health insurance companies to try to do a little more outreach in terms of education. The more people understand what having coverage can do for them, the better off both they and insurers are likely to be.



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