Sunday, March 27, 2011

The ACA Turns 1, How Well Do You Know It?

This past Wednesday marked the first birthday of health reform's passage into law. Much like a  toddler beginning to walk, the Affordable Care Act and those responsible for its implementation are still learning how to best develop its balance, coordination, and communication abilities.

So how well do you know the little guy? The Kaiser Family Foundation put together a short quiz to gauge the public understanding of what the law will actually do. Here are the 10 yes-no questions, and you can plug your answers in here to see how you compare nationally:

  • Will the health reform law require nearly all Americans to have health insurance by 2014 or else pay a fine? 
  • Will the health reform law allow a government panel to make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare?  
  • Will the health reform law cut benefits that were previously provided to all people on Medicare? 
  • Will the health reform law expand the existing Medicaid program to cover low-income, uninsured adults regardless of whether they have children?
  • Will the health reform law provide financial help to low and moderate income Americans who don't get insurance through their jobs to help them purchase coverage? 
  • Will the health reform law prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage because of a person's medical history or health condition? 
  • Will the health reform law require all businesses, even the smallest ones, to provide health insurance for their employees? 
  • Will the health reform law provide tax credits to small businesses that offer coverage to their employees?
  • Will the health reform law create a new government run insurance plan to be offered along with private plans? 
  • Will the health reform law allow undocumented immigrants to receive financial help from the government to buy health insurance?
KFF released some informative poll data on results from the quiz and found that 59% of Americans did equal to or worse than a coin flip:

This means a couple things. Firstly, it means that bloggers like myself will have no shortage of opportunity to separate fact from fiction and fill the knowledge gap. Hooray relevance! More importantly, it means that the bill is experiencing a marked developmental delay in its communication skills and needs something along the lines of a speech therapist. Whether it is public agencies, the media, advocacy groups, or simply word of mouth there is a clear need to better disseminate even its most basic elements. Even more interesting is the breakdown of scores based on a number of other qualities:

In general we see that those who are not fans of the law perform consistently worse on the quiz than supporters. Whether the disapproval is caused by a belief in misinformation about negative claims or vice-versa, there seems to be is a significant correlation between knowledge and support (and of course, source of information). As more of the law's provisions roll out and individuals begin to directly experience benefits like some of those listed above, the knowledge gap will undoubtedly reduce. Until then, though, data like that seen here shows there is long way to go towards sufficient public awareness, which is a vital tool that will be needed in deciding how best to implement and augment the law across our diverse populace. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this post! This is such a serious problem and frankly, it's quite disgusting to see how ACA opponents continue to intently distort the truth. A better means of disseminating factual information needs to occur. "We interrupt this program for a special report" anyone?