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Kaiser Health Tracking Poll — December 2010

As 2010 draws to a close, the latest tracking poll shows the public still divided in their views of the health reform law, a sentiment largely unchanged since the law’s enactment in March. Forty-two percent of Americans say they have a generally favorable view of the law, while 41 percent have a generally unfavorable view of it.

Seniors, generally more critical of the law than younger people, seem to be softening in their opposition as the national discussion shifts to the federal budget and deficit. The share of those aged 65 and up holding unfavorable views of health reform dropped to 40 percent in December, the lowest since the passage of the law.

As the weak economy continues, the survey finds that a significant number of people are struggling to stay afloat financially. One in four say their household has had trouble paying medical bills over the past year, and 54 percent say they have delayed needed medical care because of cost.

Newspapers, radio news, or other online news sources continue to be the most common channels through which Americans receive information about health reform, with two-thirds of Americans saying they learn about the law that way. Almost as many say they have gotten information about the law through friends and family (64%) and via cable TV news channels and websites (61%). Fifty-eight percent say they get such information through national broadcast network news channels and websites.

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

Findings (.pdf)

Chartpack (.pdf)

Toplines (.pdf)

Related:

Pop Quiz: Assessing Americans’ Familiarity With the Health Care Law (.pdf)