The benefits of health reform may be hiding in plain sight

Posted August, 29 2011 by arianne

This month’s latest health tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that many of those set to reap the greatest benefits from the new health reform law still don’t know about it. 

The poll found that roughly half of currently uninsured folks were not aware that the Affordable Care Act will provide subsidies to people with low- and moderate incomes to help them buy health insurance, or that Medicaid will be expanded to cover more low-income adults.

Further, 47% of the uninsured did not think that the ACA would even affect them at all.   This means that not only are they not aware that they soon may have an affordable outlet for obtaining health care, but that they also don’t know that the law will actually require them to have health insurance in the near future.

This is interesting news, given that the flux of information on the ACA has only increased since the passage of the law.  But, it is clear that the level of accurate and understandable information that has saturated down to the general public remains insufficient.

HCFANY has been working hard to educate the public around the state and will be ramping up our efforts again this fall.  But you can help!  Smart, educated folks like yourself who happen to enjoy boring health policy blogs are key to the spread of useful information.  Don’t assume that something evident to you is equally evident to your friends, family and neighbors.  Talk to them! If you think someone can be helped by the ACA, let them know. 

The other item of interest from this latest poll has to do with the recent decision by HHS to require health plans to pay for the full cost of birth control and other preventive services for women under the new law.  As some of you remember, this decision made waves earlier this month and had many right-wingers up in arms (cue Stephen Colbert’s delightful segment on this topic).  However, Kaiser found that in fact, fully 66% of Americans support this decision (including 47% of Rebublicans).

To read more from this month’s Kaiser health tracking poll, click here.