Health

After A Month, Public Understanding Of Affordable Care Act Implications Has Only Slightly Increased

| by Will Hagle

Despite the best efforts of the Tea Party and other anti-Obamacare supporters in the government and elsewhere, the new health exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act have existed for the past month. Although the initial four week period of the exchanges’ implementation has been riddled with controversy — from the too-lengthy government shutdown as a result of ideological opposition to the law to the embarrassing backlash against Healthcare.gov — many are beginning to accept the fact that the Affordable Care Act is now a thing that exists within the country. In addition to that simple acceptance, many individuals are beginning to understand how the new laws can benefit, hurt or simply affect them in some way. 

According to a new poll from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, “the share of the public that feels they have enough information about the law to understand how it will impact their own family edged up this month to 55 percent (up 8 percentage points since last month).” Still, as the report notes, that leaves just under half of the population surveyed admitting that they do not understand how the new law affects them or their family. 

In addition to these statistics, “Most of the public (64 percent) continues to say that they haven’t been personally impacted by the health care law so far, though the share saying they’ve been negatively impacted is somewhat higher than the share who feels they’ve personally benefitted (23 percent versus 14 percent). The most commonly reported positive impacts are expanded access to insurance, extension of dependent coverage, and lower costs, while the most commonly reported negative impact is increased costs, followed far behind by impacts on one’s job or business and changes to insurance benefits.” 

According to the AP, the Obama administration is attempting to increase advertisements explaining how the new health care exchanges impact individuals. The Affordable Care Act is a huge piece of legislation that’s incredibly difficult for the common individual to understand. It has numerous provisions that impact the health insurance marketplace in a wide variety of ways. How exactly the impact of the law is going to affect the health insurance marketplace as well as the health insurance plans of individuals, is only able to be proven as the law is implemented over time. In the relative scheme of the ACA’s plan, a month is just the beginning.

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