Americans Remain Confused About Obamacare

| August 30 2013
John Walker

 Lack of Information Threatens Success of Insurance Exchanges

With only a month remaining before the Obamacare insurance exchanges open for business, the administration has a long way to go to correct mass confusion about the law.

A poll conducted in mid-August by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that about half of the respondents said they don’t understand how the law will impact their families. But the poll results contain even worse news for the administration.

“Despite saying they’ve heard about the law from various sources, confusion remains, with more than four in ten saying that the law has been repealed or overturned, or being unsure whether it remains the law of the land,” the poll found.

confusion_complex_bureacracy_red_tape_laws_rulesHealth and Human Services is spending millions on advertising and public relations to sign up Americans during the six-month Obamacare open enrollment period that begins October 1.

The poll found that the public’s most trusted sources of information on the law are not necessarily the ones people are most likely to hear from.

“The public is most likely to say that they trust healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, as well as federal and state health agencies when it comes to information about the law,” the poll found.” Young adults, a key target of outreach efforts, are particularly likely to say they trust official sources of information like state and federal agencies.”

By contrast, the most common places where people say they’ve actually heard about the law are from the news media, family, and friends. A third of the public now says they’ve heard “a lot” or “some” about the health insurance marketplace in their state, up from 22 percent in June.

The poll found that 62 percent of the uninsured say they don’t have enough information about the law. This is the key audience for Obamacare.

Overall, the poll revealed that about 42 percent of Americans hold an unfavorable opinion of Obamacare and 37 percent have a favorable view. In spite of this opposition, a majority of poll respondents said they disapprove of cutting off funding as a way to stop the law’s implementation.

Meanwhile, the administration continues to miss deadlines established to implement Obamacare. Just this week, officials said they would delay signing contracts with insurance companies scheduled to provide insurance policies on the federal exchanges.

At the same time, thousands of so-called “navigators” have been hired to sign up Obamacare enrollees through community organizations, healthcare agencies, and universities.

The administration is running out of time. As long as public confusion about the law remains widespread, the Obamacare launch is doomed.