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Kaiser Health Tracking Poll — August 2011

The August tracking poll examines the views of Americans without health insurance, with a particular focus on how they think the health reform law will affect them. Findings from the poll include:

  • Although estimates are that 32 million uninsured Americans will gain coverage under the ACA, only about half of non-elderly Americans currently without coverage say they are familiar with the chief components in the law designed to achieve this goal.
  • Perhaps because awareness of these coverage expansions is low, nearly half (47%) of the uninsured do not expect to be affected at all by the health reform law, either positively or negatively. But three in ten (31%) do say it will help them get health care. Fourteen percent expect to be hurt by the law, mainly because they worry they will be required to buy coverage they cannot afford.
  • With health reform somewhat less in the news as the debt ceiling debate took center stage, there has been a decline in public awareness about provisions that advocates have touted as key benefits of health reform.
  • On another health policy issue in the news, two-thirds of Americans (66%) say they support the recent decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to require health insurance plans to pay for the full cost of birth control and other preventive services for women under the new law, and 24 percent of the public oppose the decision.
  • Overall public opinion about the ACA once again remains largely unchanged. Thirty-nine percent of Americans say they have a favorable view of the law, 44 percent have an unfavorable one and another 17 percent don’t know enough to register an opinion.

The August poll is the latest in a series designed and analyzed by the Foundation’s public opinion research team.

Findings (.pdf)

Data Note on views and experiences of those with employer-sponsored health coverage. (.pdf)

Toplines (.pdf)

Related Column: Uninsured But Not Yet Informed, the Latest “Pulling it Together, From Drew Altman.”