Affordable Care ActPoll finds unfavorable opinions outnumbering favorable impressions by roughly 2-to-1 

In describing the intentions of the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) states that it’s “Goal 1, Objective A” is to “make coverage more secure for those who have insurance, and extend affordable coverage to the uninsured.”

Further, HHS states that the Affordable Care Act is “improving access to culturally competent, quality health care for uninsured, underserved, vulnerable, older, and special needs populations.”

It’s a nice philosophy. But despite these lofty promises, American’s uninsured simply aren’t buying-in to the message – or the plans – that Obamacare offers. What do uninsured Americans think of the Affordable Care Act?

In a recently-released report, The Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that “among the uninsured – a key group for outreach under the law – unfavorable views now outnumber favorable views by roughly a 2-to-1 margin (47 percent versus 24 percent). This is a change from last month when 43 percent of the uninsured had an unfavorable view and 36 percent were favorable. More of those without coverage say the law has made the uninsured as a group worse off (39 percent) than better off (26 percent).”

Many believe their healthcare opportunities are actually getting worse with the Affordable Care Act.

“We want to build a healthcare system that delivers high-quality care to every American, not just the ones who can afford to go to our fanciest hospitals,” says HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. But is this really happening?

The Kaiser report finds that “more than half of the uninsured (54 percent) say the law hasn’t made much difference for their families, and the share who feel they’re worse off as a result of the law is more than twice the share who feel they’re better off (30 percent versus 13 percent). When asked about the uninsured as a group, those without coverage are more likely to say the law has left this group worse off than better (39 percent versus 26 percent).”

The uninsured still want health coverage.

Despite their lack of confidence in the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured recognize the importance of having healthcare coverage. The uninsured polled for the Kaiser survey said that they see health insurance coverage as “very important (70 percent) and something they need (73 percent). Among those who currently lack coverage, four in ten say they have tried to get it in the past 6 months, including about one in five each who tried to get coverage from Medicaid (19 percent), directly from a private insurance company (19 percent), and through a state or federal health insurance exchange (18 percent).

When told or reminded of the law’s requirement that most Americans obtain insurance or pay a fine, half the uninsured say they expect to get coverage, including about one in five (18 percent) who expect to purchase it themselves (either from a private insurance company or through an exchange), 8 percent who expect to get it from Medicaid, and 6 percent who expect to get coverage from an employer. A sizable share (17 percent of the uninsured overall) say they expect to get coverage but are unsure where.

Four in ten of those without coverage say they expect to remain uninsured, with most of these saying they don’t think they’ll be able to find an affordable plan. Further, many of the uninsured remain unaware of the additional options available to them under the ACA, including the insurance exchanges, subsidies, and expanded Medicaid in some states.”

In general, more Americans believe the impact of the Affordable Care Act has been negative.

The negative view of Obamacare cuts across all economic strata. According to the Kaiser Poll, “most Americans continue to report no personal experience with the law to date. Roughly six in ten say they haven’t been directly impacted by the law in a positive or negative way, though the share who perceive that they’ve been negatively impacted continues to be larger than the share who feel they’ve benefited (27 percent versus 15 percent). Those who feel they’ve been negatively impacted by the law are most likely to point to high costs of health care and insurance as the reason.”

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