Fewer Americans Support Affordable Care Act: Poll

By Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter

 

FRIDAY, Dec. 27, 2013 (HealthDay News) — The rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act has done some damage to the public’s opinion of the new health care law, a Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds.

The percentage of people who support a repeal of Obamacare has risen, and now stands at 36 percent of all adults. That’s up from 27 percent in 2011.

The federal health insurance exchange website, HealthCare.gov, was launched in October, but technical problems made it close to impossible for the uninsured to choose and enroll in a new health plan. After a series of fixes were made to the website in November, things have been running more smoothly, although the latest enrollment numbers are still far below government projections.

The increase in support for repeal of the law appears to come from people who up to now haven’t cared one way or the other about it, said Devon Herrick, a fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a libertarian think tank.

There’s less indecision. Those who really didn’t know or didn’t care or were indifferent or were uninformed are forming an opinion, and it isn’t good, Herrick said.

The poll also found that people aren’t taking advantage of the law’s benefits, either because the rollout has prevented them from signing up or they aren’t aware of what’s available to them.

Fewer than half of the people who shopped for insurance through a marketplace were able to successfully buy coverage, the survey indicated.

Only 5 percent of the uninsured who live in states that are expanding Medicaid said they have signed up for the program. Two-thirds either believe they still aren’t eligible for Medicaid or don’t know enough about the program.

These new findings make depressing reading for the government and supporters of the [Affordable Care Act], said Humphrey Taylor, Harris chairman. Enrollment in both the expanding Medicaid program and in private insurance available through the exchanges is still painfully slow.

However, there is a bright spot for the law’s supporters — more than two-thirds of the people who have bought coverage through a health insurance marketplace think they got an excellent or pretty good deal.

That’s the number that indicates why the Affordable Care Act eventually will succeed, said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a health care advocacy group.

It is not unusual for a new program to have a hill to climb in terms of its acceptance, Pollack said. As more and more people get enrolled, they will tell their friends and they will tell their family members. As that happens, we will see more people decide that the Affordable Care Act is very valuable to them.

About 48 percent of Americans support the Affordable Care Act, saying it either should be left as it stands or have some parts changed.

As the number of people calling for repeal has increased, the number of those undecided has decreased, from 27 percent in 2011 to 16 percent now.

It’s not, ‘There are some problems, let’s fix it,’ Herrick said. It’s, ‘There are some problems, let’s scrap it.’

The voices calling for repeal are still predominantly Republican, with 68 percent of people in that party supporting repeal.

However, 41 percent of independents also are calling for repeal, compared with 46 percent who support the Affordable Care Act. Roughly three-fourths of Democrats support the law.

About one-quarter of adults said either they or someone they know have tried to use a health insurance exchange. Of those, 46 percent reported that they successfully bought insurance through the exchange.

The success rate was higher — 54 percent — for those using the state exchanges rather than an exchange in which the federal government has a part. Only 43 percent of people using HealthCare.gov successfully bought insurance, and the federal-state partnership exchanges had a reported success rate of 38 percent.

While the performance of the federal and state exchanges may be improving, it is surely disappointing that less than half of all the people who have tried to use them have succeeded in buying insurance, Taylor said.

However, 68 percent of people who were able to buy insurance came away pleased. About 22 percent said they got an excellent deal, and 45 percent felt they got a pretty good deal.

Only 8 percent think they got a poor deal, Taylor said.

Questions related to the Medicaid expansion revealed a wealth of ignorance.

Two-thirds of adults don’t know whether they live in a state that is expanding Medicaid. In states where it is happening, only a quarter of adults were aware of that fact.

Only 16 percent of the uninsured who live in states that are expanding their Medicaid programs said they either have signed up or plan to do so. Most of the uninsured in these states believe they are not eligible (33 percent), are not interested (21 percent) or are not sure (31 percent).

Pollack said these numbers point to the challenges now facing health care reform advocates.

For those of us who strongly believe the [Affordable Care Act] is a historic opportunity for many millions of people, our job now is to help people learn about what’s in the legislation and help them translate the legislation to figure out how it will help them in their lives, he said.

The poll also found a lack of consensus regarding whether people want their states to expand Medicaid. About 39 percent support expansion, 29 percent oppose it and 32 percent aren’t sure.

Even among those who would qualify for the program, there seems to be a fair amount of indifference, Herrick said. That does not bode well for the advocates of expansion.

Harris conducted this poll from Dec. 13 to Dec. 17 among 2,129 adults, including 331 people who have no health insurance.

 

More information

The American Public Health Association has more about the Affordable Care Act.

SOURCES: Devon Herrick, fellow, National Center for Policy Analysis; Humphrey Taylor, chairman, The Harris Poll at Harris Interactive; Ron Pollack, executive director, Families USA; Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll, Dec. 13-17, 2013

 

TABLES

Table 1: Favor Repealing Or Keeping Reform Bill

Q. It has been three years since the healthcare reform legislation was signed into law by President Barack Obama. A majority of this law has not been implemented. Do you think the law shouldâ€_.?

Base: All Adults

 

 

 

 

 

Political Affiliation 2013

 

%

2011

2012

2013

Republican

Democrat

Independent

 

Remain in place

 

22

27

23

5

43

21

Be repealed

 

27

31

36

68

11

41

Have some parts changed

 

24

22

25

17

30

25

Not sure

 

27

19

16

10

16

12

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

 

Table 2: Those Who Have Tried To Use Exchanges To Buy Insurance

Q. Which of the following people, including yourself, have tried to use a health insurance exchange to buy health insurance? Please select all that apply.

Base: All Adults

 

 

 

Total

%

Self,Family Member or Friend Tried To Use An Exchange (Net)

26

Myself

11

Family Member

12

Friend

10

 

None of These

58

Not sure

17

 

Table 3: Those Who Were Able To Successfully Buy Insurance Using Exchanges (as percentages of those who tried)

Q. And which of the following people were able to successfully buy health insurance using the exchange?

Base: Self, Family Member or Friend Tried To Use An Exchange

 

 

Total

%

Using all types of exchanges

46

Using Federal exchange

43

Using partnership exchanges

38

Using state exchanges

54

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

 

Table 4:How Good Or Bad A Deal Is The Insurance Available On The Exchanges?

Q. Overall, based on the experience of you, your family or your friends, how good or bad a deal is the insurance available on the exchanges?

Base: Self, Family Member Or Friend Was Able To Buy Health Insurance Using The Exchange

 

 

Total

%

Pretty Good/Excellent (Net)

68

Excellent

22

Pretty Good

45

Poor/Only Fair (Net)

22

Only Fair

15

Poor

8

Not sure

10

 

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

 

Table 5: Know That Own State Is Or Is Not Expanding Medicaid

Q. Because of the health care reform law, some states will be increasing the number of people who will be eligible for Medicaid, while other states will not. Do you know if your state will be expanding Medicaid?

Base: All Adults

 

 

Total

%

States Expanding Medicaid

States Not Expanding Medicaid

Yes, my state will expand Medicare

18

27

7

No, my state will not expand Medicare

18

6

30

Not Sure

 

64

66

63

 

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

 

Table 6: Favor Or Oppose Own State Expanding

Q. Do you favor or oppose your state expanding Medicaid to cover more people?

Base: All Adults

 

 

Total

%

States Expanding Medicaid

States Not Expanding Medicaid

Yes, my state will expand Medicare

39

39

40

No, mystate will not expand Medicare

29

28

31

Not Sure

 

32

33

29

 

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

 

Table 7: Expectations Of The Uninsured Towards Signing Up For Medicaid

Q. Which one of the following best describes your position about applying for Medicaid?

Base: Uninsured In States Expanding Medicaid

 

 

Total

%

I have already signed up to get Medicaid

5

I expect to apply for Medicaid

11

I would like to get Medicaid, but I don’t thin that I am eligible

33

I am not interested in getting Medicaid

21

None of these/Not Sure

31

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

 

METHODOLOGY
This survey was conducted online within the United States from December 13-17, 2013 among 2,129 adults (aged 18 and over) by Harris Interactive. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the online population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, and error associated with non-response, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, un-weighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client’s research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.