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KFF February Health Tracking Poll: Nearly Half Confused About Status of the Health Reform Law

The latest Kaiser Health Tracking poll finds that amid a public debate about contraceptive coverage in insurance plans, 63 percent of Americans support a new federal requirement that plans include no-cost birth control, while a third oppose it. Catholics split along similar lines, but there’s a big partisan divide, including among women: 85 percent of women who are Democrats support the requirement, compared with 42 percent of women who are Republicans. The public is also divided over the root issue in the debate over whether religiously affiliated employers should have to to cover contraceptives in their plans, with a quarter saying it is religious freedom, a quarter saying women’s rights, another quarter thinking it is a mix of both, and the rest not having heard anything on the subject.

As the health reform law approaches its two year birthday, Americans remain divided on the Affordable Care Act, with 42 percent holding favorable views of the law and 43 percent unfavorable. This reflects a five percentage point increase in support for the law since January, driven mostly by an improvement in views among political independents. The proportion of Americans that think their family will be worse off under health reform dropped to 25 percent from 33 percent in January, though there was virtually no change in the share who expect their family to benefit.

Moving onto the presidential elections, at this point in the 2012 campaign, President Barack Obama is trusted by a larger share of the public than any of his Republican challengers in dealing with the future of both Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.

For more on these topics, as well as a closer look at public opinion on the future of the Medicare program, check out the latest poll findings, chartpack, and topline.

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