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U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks alongside Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (R) and other Americans the White House says will benefit from the opening of health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, in the Rose Garden
Time to warm up that bully pulpit.
If this week's Gallup poll hints that there's still a big lack of awareness about the details of Obamacare, this month's tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation proves it. Nearly four years after its passage, the American public is still pretty damned vague about what this whole thing is about.
The latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that even after most of the ACA’s major provisions took effect on January 1, a large majority of the public (62 percent) continues to believe that only “some” provisions of the ACA have been put into place thus far. Only about one in five (19 percent) say “most” or “all” provisions have been implemented, up somewhat from 9 percent last March.

When it comes to the individual elements of the law, awareness has increased slightly for two of the big ones: the individual mandate (81 percent now say it is part of the law, up from 74 percent last March) and the health insurance exchanges (68 percent, up from 58 percent). Still, large shares of the public–and even higher shares of the uninsured–remain unaware of some other major provisions of the law. For example, roughly four in ten adults overall, and about half of the uninsured, are not aware that the law provides financial help to low- and moderate-income Americans to help them purchase coverage, gives states the options of expanding their Medicaid programs, and prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

It's an old story. The public is aware of the stuff that gets the most ink in the traditional media and that's the negative stuff; the mandate because Republicans have been hammering on it for four years, and the exchanges because the dominated news coverage all fall because was so screwed up. In this poll, 56 percent of people report that they've only seen stories about the controversies and the politics of the law, not the substance. Additionally, "about half the public (47 percent) reports hearing at least one story in the last month about an individual or family who was impacted by the law, with about twice as many saying they saw more stories about people being harmed (27 percent) as saying they saw more stories about people being helped (13 percent)."

The failure of the traditional media to report on the substance of what this law can do to help people means that the majority of the people who really need the help don't know that it's out there! Though KFF doesn't give breakdowns by geography, it's a good bet that most of those who lack this awareness are in the 36 states on the federal exchange and have seen a concerted effort to advertise the law that we've seen in the states that created their own exchanges and have enthusiastically embraced the new law.

Consistent with months and months worth of KFF polling, though, while the law still isn't popular the large majority of people—55 percent—want Congress to improve the law, not repeal it. That's continuing bad news for Republicans, who's latest plan would completely scrap the existing law. There's no interest at all in the public for that. Even 30 percent of those who have negative opinions about the law agree that it needs to be improved, not repealed.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:51 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:51:04 PM PST

  •  depends on definition of most (0+ / 0-)

    Aren't some of the business provisions like the business mandate and possibly the small business marketplaces still not implemented?  But by impact on health care, I think most is accurate as it is my impression that the unimplemented parts will impact relatively few people.

  •  One of the issues I have with these polls, (8+ / 0-)

    Is that most don't or won't even see or feel the effects of O'care. Certainly no negative effects. So they have no real reason to understand the law any more than they previously understood how their health insurance actually worked.

    If you are against sane gun regulations then by definition you support 30,000 deaths a year by firearms.

    by jsfox on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 01:14:51 PM PST

    •  Bingo."People" don't have any idea how ANY health (8+ / 0-)

      insurance works! Plus, as you point out, there's really no reason for them to be too concerned.  

      This is what also kicks me about the polls that profess to tell me that some small majority of all Americans don't like Obamacare. Americans already covered by their employer have few reasons (other than the pre-existing conditions and under 26 coverage) to have any opinion other than that of the person who gave them their news (or talking points).

    •  And how many seniors on Medicare, who are (7+ / 0-)

      minimally impacted by the law, even then by mostly provisions that benefit them, but who have swallowed the GOP lies and would therefore report being strongly against the law?

      “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

      by ahumbleopinion on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:59:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I doubt many (0+ / 0-)

        I'm on and the ACA improved Medicare.

        I think the LIES off the republicans are going to backfire when the public realizes what they have been saying about Obamacare (ACA) is not true.

        Most people are not even affected by it, as the healthcare reform is designed to give those who could not get health insurance, those on individual plans get better insurance.

        When the a small business part is implemented it will help small businesses get cheaper group plans for their employees, but will not affect large businesses in any way.

    •  Indeed. In addition, there are those who now are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      obtaining health insurance for the first time in a long time, but have no idea why they are suddenly eligible. I've had clients who've been calling me since the beginning of this month telling me they now have insurance. Yeah! They can now get the treatment they need. "The state says I'm eligible for health insurance now." They have no clue that it's because of Obamacare. When I mentioned the new law to one of my clients, there was complete silence, like he had no idea what I was talking about.

      •  republicans have been making every effort to (0+ / 0-)

        make sure the public does not get the correct information about the ACA. I thonk we also need to understand that many people without insurance probalby have trouble navigating webs sites & lac access to information.

        In some state republicans have even passed laws to forbid the ACA navigators for helping people sign up.

  •  The Democratic messaging still sucks (7+ / 0-)

    It just amazes me how poorly the communication from this administration, and Democrats in general, has been.

    Dismal, sad and pathetic are words that spring to mind.

    On the other hand the Republicans have conducted a stellar program of lies and deceit. Death Panels, the staged town halls, Big Brother Govt taking your doctor away and on and on and on.

    Brilliantly done.

    And the Democrats? Worthless tepid crap. No wonder people don't know what the real story is - nobody with any communication skills has bothered to tell them.

    •  Yea, it's almost as if Republicans and the ... (6+ / 0-)

      ... corporate owned media are in kahootz or something!  Oh wait a minute ...

      Hmmmm ....

      •  The corporate owned media... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jds1978 in cahoots with Dems as well, but their interest is profits, which means clickbait and horror stories, or in some cases they have small dedicated audiences of people who know what's happening already.  The problem is definitely a communications strategy; just as the man said, without proper funding for advertising and awareness it could be a "train wreck" - the famous line that has been infamously misconstrued and misrepresented.  Basically, money needs to go to low-income areas, the one place neither political party has an earnest strategy, or any interest in communicating with people or financing (we probably wouldn't need the program if either party was willing to spend money on poor people).  That's why Republicans are going after the advocates trying to sign people up (the name for them escapes me atm), because they're literally the only people getting the message out and helping poor Americans sign up.

      •  Except the Dems do next to nothing to command (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Capt Crunch, PorridgeGun

        the attention of the media.  Otherwise, you're point is well taken.

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 09:50:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yet the media is focussed on right wingers (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gramofsam1, PorridgeGun

          How often does the media quote any Democrat on any issue? Well, since the Dems aren't making outrageous statements, promoted appalling lies, or acting like belligerent fools, they don't show up on the media radar.

          I would be so happy never to have heard a single word reported to come out of the mouths of the right wing, but the media thinks they are 'entertaining.'

          •  You don't have to lie or be a buffoon to be heard (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            That's an excuse folks on the left make all the time. It's just not real.

            The Democrats have to be aggressive and consistent in getting their message out.

            You can only blame so much on "the media".

            The vast majority of the problem is with the flaccid Democratic messaging effort.  Here's an example of good content and execution. It's an ad by successful candidate Jennifer Wexton.

            •  Would rec your comment 1000 time if I could. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Capt Crunch

              The nasty media is purely an excuse.  You can make news without lying or being outrageous.  Being forceful, getting angry when appropriate and justified (heavens know there's plenty of justification for anger) and being consistently critical of the other side can and does make news.

              The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

              by accumbens on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:03:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  meh. it's a structural problem (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cocinero, gramofsam1, sajiocity

      The press generally only reports on government programs if something goes wrong. It will happily report on minor glitches as major problems.

      The press also generally only reports on corporate programs when things are going right, or unless the corporate screw-up is a massive disaster.

      Also, the press works off anecdotes. It's incapable of understanding or reporting statistical data. It's also incapable of correcting failed anecdotes.

      The ACA is hit by all of this. First, the nightmare of the old system was underreported (e.g. personal bankruptcies when someone tried to use their junk insurance). Then the positive stores of ACA itself are underreported, and the negative cases trumpeted, and when the failed cases fall apart, they're not corrected.

      But the biggest problem is anecdote vs data. If you believe anecdotes are data (like the press, because they're idiots), then the ACA is an unsolveable problem because there are anecdotes on both sides.

      So, while it's probably true that the Democrats could be doing more, the real problem is a completely broken press.

      •  I have to disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        First of all it's REALLY IMPORTANT.

        To just sluff it off as business-as-usual doesn't acknowledge the importance of getting the word out and changing people's perceptions.

        I think that's a real weakness of the left. They seem to think just putting out accurate data will do the trick. It won't.

        It doesn't matter if you tell the truth if nobody believes you.

        the press works off anecdotes.
        That should be a point in our favor. There are tons of success stories out there. Heart warming, tear jerking success stories.

        The Democrats have sat on their hands and let the Republicans flood the media with bull shit negative stories.

        So, I don't think the problem is the structure. The problem is the Democratic incompetence.

    •  Democrats choose not to lie, like (0+ / 0-)

      republicans & republicans have the Koch money to spread their lies.

      Put you money where your mouth is.

      •  You don't have to lie to get attention. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That's the fallacy that so many on the left believe.

        But you do have to be aggressive and grab the media, and the public, attention.

        The Democrats aren't just not aggressive - they're in a coma. Somebody poke them with a sharp stick and wake them up!

  •  And because ... (3+ / 0-)
    The public is aware of the stuff that gets the most ink in the traditional media and that's the negative stuff ...


    The failure of the traditional media to report on the substance of what this law can do to help people ...

    Obama and his administration, and the Dems in general, have been so piss poor at communicating what the ACA does and means for people.  They have done next to nothing to educate people about the facts and get attention from the media compared to what the Repubs, Tea Party and conservatives have done to misinform the public and command attention from the media with their lies.  Just amazing how badly Obama and the Dems have failed with the truth on their side.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 09:49:37 AM PST

  •  I've gone from happy to exasperated. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm unable to get my daughter insured -- still.

    Now I'm told that we can't switch plans until November, even though we have discovered that we made a mistake in our choice and chose a company that only pays 50% in Missouri where our daughter goes to college.

    The bureaucracy and rigidity have my wife alternately in tears and rage.  Non-exchange plans have become incredibly expensive and we seem to be completely screwed.

    Today is the first time ever repeal does not sound like lunacy to me.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 10:01:49 AM PST

  •  yeah, well (0+ / 0-)

    it didn't solve [insert anecdotal personal issue here] so it's a failure.

    •  Multiply by XX millions (0+ / 0-)

      Sure, you can ignore dinotrac as an outlier.

      But, the "products" being offered may meet government specifications, doesn't mean they meet consumer desires or needs.

      Ultimately, that is the flaw that will likely undo the ACA.  Too many people are going to be unhappy with its flaws.  And, many of those newly insured (estimated as 11-25% of the signups) are going to freak when they go to the doctor expecting to be covered and learn exactly what a "deductible" is all about.

  •  well this is encouraging (0+ / 0-)

    america is still ignorant but not as dumb as some may think, not yet anyway.

    save america defeat all republicans and conservatives

  •  I swear to god (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can almost understand the "personal responsibility" angle of the Republicans, not that they practice what they preach obviously (in fact if there's an opposite to that angle the Republicans take the opposite as far as it can possibly go), but for the love of Pete, why don't people take the small amount of time and effort to figure out WTF is going on in their world?

  •  Other ACA misconceptions, about stuff not in it (0+ / 0-)

    I'm a doctor. A friend told me of doctors complaining about the added paperwork their offices had to do because of Obamacare.  She asked if I'd run into that also.

    I said I wasn't aware of any such added paperwork.  She said she'd heard it was about new codes for diagnoses, and the light bulb lit up.  There is a new requirement, but it's not from the Affordable Care Act.  It's something Medicare has been trying to impose for years.
    [Boring details alert]
    There is a new set of diagnosis codes that we'll have to start using, at least for Medicare claims, in October ( I think that's when but don't bank on it).  The new system is the ICD-10, or tenth version of the International Classification of Disease system.  It will replace ICD-9, and the new code book is 3 inches thick (rather than 1.5 inches) and a copy of it will cost $300.00 .  The American Medical Association has the copyright for it, at least in the USA, and I'm sure selling the books has become a huge profit center for the AMA.  Most national health departments all over the world have already gone to the new system, but they just use it to try to keep track of how common various diseases are.  Only in the USA will any payments depend on how an illness is coded.  Further, I believe the ICD-10 wasn't designed to be a basis for justifying payments.  As hospitals get good at 'gaming' the new system, whatever diagnosis codes pay the best will likely start seeming much more common in the USA than the rest of the world.  Our statistics won't be comparable to those from other countries.  
    [End of boring details]

    So yes, there is some new red tape doctors and hospitals will need to deal with, but it shouldn't be blamed on "Obmamcare".

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 11:23:39 AM PST

  •  B H Obama - The great Uncommunicator (0+ / 0-)

    Sadly, this failure to understand can be laid at the feet of the non-communicator-in-chief.  
    For someone who can campaign with the best of 'em, he is unable to connect with real world people with real world events.
    Uncle Ronnie (who I despise with every fiber of my being) would have been able to sell this to Mitch McConnel and John Bonehead.  
    Barry thinks people are smart, like he is and will get the nuance and see the benefits.  That's stupid!
    Ronnie knew everyone was about as dumb as he was and could 'splain it in terms they understood.  That's smart.

    Just read a sampling of the posts on HP any day to realize which one of these guys knows Americans.

  •  It doesn't help that the Republicans have their (0+ / 0-)

    very own "news" channel that will run stories (true or not) 24/7.  They have people on there all day with the right's talking points.  This cnannel is on all day at a lot of business locations.

    MSM is lazy and has been quoting stuff from this "news" channel as if it's the only side.  

    We get told it's "not the media's responsiblity to sell policies and positions".

    So just how do you propose that Democrats get their messages out?

    “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”-Brandi Snyder (in memory of my Nick)

    by YellowDogInGA on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 11:45:02 AM PST

    •  I agree & republicans have $$$$# fomr Kock (0+ / 0-)

      to spread lies about the new health care law, & republicans are obstructing it's implementation in many states.

      I think Obama & Sieblus should have a joint press conference and talk about the detiails of the ACA, give people some details on why they can't access the ACA in their states, and how to sign-up on their state networks or the federal network, how to get help doing it.

      Maybe some non-profits could help spread the word since the republicans won't.

      OFA  & other non-profits should send volunteers to those free clinics to give our factual information how to access health insurance under the ACA in their state. Make those eligible for Medicaid aware of the republican obstruction in their state.

  •  Why is KFC doing health care polls? (0+ / 0-)

    I know the stuff isn't good for you, but still.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 11:57:14 AM PST

  •  They really don't understand (0+ / 0-)

    And, the damn website still does not work for some.

    My office is too small to get a group policy . I am covered by my wife's policy and  have two ladies under my supervision, both in their early forties, who I pay a salary PLUS the cost of their health care (capped at around $5000) with a "gross up" amount on top of THAT to pay taxes on the extra income and social security the $5000 incurs.  One is single and gets one heck of a policy, including dental. vision, etc.  The other decided to get a bare-bones family policy, basically the equivalent of a bronze plan, with her money.  That was last year

    I asked her if she had signed up yet for exchanges.  I told her that the monetary reimbursement won't change, she probably will get a much better policy.  She hadn't looked.  I told her that since her and her husband together made under $60,000with a family of four, they'd be subsidy eligible and she should try the exchanges.  She knew nothing of subsidies and most of her friends are paying the $95 (they THINK it is only $95.....) Well, she started down that path and now the website absolutely will NOT work for her anymore.  She has given up.

    My brother has been trying for three months to get the website working.  It doesn't matter, he says because he can't afford the $100-$200 per month it might cost him anyway.  He has absolutely no knowledge of any subsidies.

    Finally, my wife's sister-in-law: same website problems, she finally called a Florida Navigator who helped her out.  Got her a quote.  She said it was way more then they could afford and their $38k gross.  I asked about the subsidies and she not only didn't know about them, THE NAVIGATOR never inquired as to their income.

    Those are three cases I know about.

    "The man who has his millions will want everything he can lay his hands on and then raise his voice against the poor devil who wants ten cents more a day" - S.Gompers

    by Copp on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:07:30 PM PST

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