Survey: Most like health care reform provisions

FILE - Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, center, joins other coservatives lawmakers to criticize President Obama's national health care plan, often called "Obamacare," Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
November 30, 2011 7:43:05 PM PST
As GOP presidential candidates rail against what they call "Obamacare," there is a survey out that shows most Americans actually like much of what the law provides.

The survey of 1,200 Americans from across the country was designed and commissioned by Palo Alto-based Kaiser Family Foundation, who has been tracking the law every month since it passed in November, and shows most people don't know much about the healthcare law.

The overall view of the national healthcare law remains more negative than positive: 44 percent unfavorable to 37 percent who like it.

"It has changed a little bit," said Liz Hamel with the Kaiser Family Foundation. "It's been pretty mixed since the law was passed."

Hamel, the associate director of public opinion and survey research at Kaiser Family Foundation, has been breaking down the health care act and looking at what the law actually does.

"Many of them are really popular among large shares of the public," Hamel said.

The most popular provision: A requirement that insurance companies provide easy to understand benefit summaries. Another popular provision includes tax credits for small businesses and provisions to close the Medicare doughnut hole for prescriptions.

Another popular portion of the health care act is "the provision that requires or prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions," Hamel said.

The least popular part of the law: The individual mandate.

"I don't like being forced to do anything I don't want to do or can't afford to do," one person told ABC7.

Sixty-three percent of Americans say the same: That mandate is very unpopular, but in general, that's not the deciding factor.

"When we ask about the law in general, we get a split that is divided sharply along partisan lines," said Hamel.

Most people tend to react to what they've heard from the leaders of their political party, Hamel explained, and Republicans who view the law unfavorably said their opinion was based more on what they've heard and how they feel about the current administration.

"Only about a quarter of the people with a negative view said that it was more about what they know about the law," said Hamel.

ABC7's political analyst Bruce Cain, Ph.D. said that ignorance about the law won't last.

"That issue will get a lot of coverage during the November election much more than it's getting right now," Cain said. "Eventually, what we know is that voters in November elections will actually learn things."

People are going to be targeted from both sides with radio and television ads this upcoming election on the topic of health care reform.


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