Kaiser Poll: More Than Half of Americans Confused About Health Reform

Sep 27, 2010 10:37am

ABC News’ Huma Khan reports: Six months after the passage of the health care law, more than half of Americans are still confused about it, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released today.

Even as the first of the new “consumer protections” start kicking in this month, confusion has risen to the highest point since April, and 53 percent of Americans are in the dark about what the new law means.

Misperceptions also abound – three in ten seniors polled mistakenly believe that the new law will permit government panels to make decisions about their end-of-life care, dubbed “death panels” by some.

However, favorable views of reform have regained “a small upper hand” over unfavorable views, by 49-40 percent. But among registered voters, support is even.

The report comes six weeks before a mid-term election in which health care has become the battle cry for Republicans hoping to take back majority. Conservative groups are pouring millions into ads attacking lawmakers who voted for the bill. Even House Democrats who voted against it are clearly using their No vote to distance themselves from the establishment. At the same time, those who supported the bill are silent on the issue. 

Among independents, 42 percent favor the health care law while 45 percent are against it. But the poll finds that candidates who voted for the bill repel more independents who lean Republicans than attract independents who lean towards Democrats.

Still, health care is largely overshadowed by the economy and jobs. Only three in ten Americans say they’re more likely to go to the polls because of the health care law, while six in ten say the law’s passage doesn’t really change their interest in voting.

The poll also bears some positive news for Democrats — 49 percent of Americans say they trust Democrats to do a better job handling health reform, compared to 32 percent who say they trust Republicans.

Republicans are pushing for a full repeal of the law, but only 26 percent of Americans say the law should be repealed as soon as possible, according to the Kaiser survey.

Read the full poll HERE.

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