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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Americans excited about health reform

Kate Blocher

Staff Writer

A new tracking poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that support for the Affordable Care Act has risen dramatically from 41 to 48 percent, a 7 percentage point increase since the poll was last done in May.

As in previous polls, many of the individual provisions polled favorably: 87 percent were in favor of health insurance exchanges, 82 percent were in favor of tax credits for small businesses, 78 percent were in favor of creating high-risk pools for individuals with pre-existing conditions, and 71 percent were in favor of extending dependant coverage to the age of 26.

The study also found that people generally know a little bit more about the law, and they like what they see. For instance, 62 percent know that the Affordable Health Care Act will enact health insurance exchanges and 87 percent view this provision favorably. On the flip side, less than half of those polled (48 percent) knew that the Act eliminates gender rating; subsequently, that provision had a lower favorability rating at 65 percent.

So what do all these numbers tell us? Basically, it’s more evidence that people will like the Affordable Care Act more as they start to see it in action. As more early provisions come to fruition, such as dependent coverage until the age of 26, high-risk pools for those with pre-existing conditions, consumer protections to ensure consumers—and not insurance companies—are in charge of their health care, support for the Affordable Care Act will continue to grow. The odd thing is, despite all the evidence pointing towards broad public support, opponents of reform maintain their rhetoric about repealing the law. It is obvious they are not listening to the American people; the vast majority of people support these provisions and know they will help them and their families.

As more Americans see how health reform affects them, or their soon to be graduating son, or their friend who has been locked out of the private market due to a pre-existing condition, support will only increase, and opponents of reform will be left behind.