Confusion over the new health reform law declined but remains widespread, with 44 percent of the public saying they were confused in May, compared to 55 percent in April. Moreover, more than a third of Americans (35%) say they do not understand what the impact of the law will be on themselves and their families, while 61 percent report feeling they do understand what that impact will be.
Americans continue to report getting information about health reform from a wide variety of sources, including the news media, friends and medical professionals. More than half report having gotten information from friends and family (68%), or from cable (63%) or broadcast news programs (55%). Further breaking down those getting health reform information from cable news, 25 percent of Americans indicated their main cable source on this topic was FOX News, 22 percent named CNN and 6 percent MSNBC. In fact, cable news still tops the list of the public’s “most important” sources of news about the new law, with 30 percent saying they rely on that source more than any other.
Americans remain divided on health reform, with 41 percent holding favorable views of the law, 44 percent holding unfavorable views and 14 percent undecided or unsure. Most Democrats still approve of it and most Republicans still oppose it. Political independents are more likely to tilt against, as are people who describe themselves as likely voters in the midterm elections.
Those with favorable views of health reform tend to cite the law’s potential for increasing Americans’ access to health insurance and health care (47%) and making both more affordable (12%) as the main reasons for their support. Those with unfavorable views had a wider range of reasons for their opposition, but topping the list were concerns about the cost of reform to the country and individuals (27%) and opposition to the government’s perceived role in the changes (17%).