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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Americans confused about the what's in the bill

The Kaiser Family Foundation released a new tracking poll yesterday that showed that while about half of Americans are confused about how the health reform law will affect them, when asked about specific provisions in the law that go into effect in the first year, an overwhelming majority supported them.

The poll focused on 11 specific provisions that will take effect within the first year. All 11 provisions were widely supported. The study found that among the 11 provisions: 82 percent of Americans are in favor of new health plans providing basic preventive care with no co-pays; 81 percent of Americans favor ending the insurance company practice of dropping coverage due to a serious health problem; and 74 percent favor allowing young adults to stay on their family's insurance plan until the age of 26.

However, the poll also showed that 55 percent of Americans are confused about the law, and 56 percent do not feel they have the necessary information to understand how it will affect them personally. According to Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman,

"People are struggling to understand how the law will affect them and their families and to separate fact from political spin[.]"

It seems clear from these numbers that just like during the health reform debate, when people are shown the individual provisions of health reform legislation, the majority of the American public is strongly in favor of it. The problem is that after a long, drawn out debate in which opponents of reform used every opportunity to confuse and misinform the public, Americans are understandably unsure about the overall effect of the law-especially on themselves and their families. But as the law is implemented in the months, the truth about the reforms will become clear, and people will begin to see and experience the many positive aspects of health reform.