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Following Midterms, Both Democrats and Republicans Expect Washington to Continue to Debate the Affordable Care Act, But the Public Is Splintered Over What Congress Should Do

About Half of Uninsured Expect To Find Coverage in the Coming Months, Though Another Quarter Say They Won’t Because They Do Not Believe They Can Find an Affordable Plan Following the Nov. 4 midterm elections that saw Republicans seize control of the Senate and expand their House majority, nearly half of…

Kaiser Health Policy News Index: November 2014

The Kaiser Health Policy News Index is designed to help journalists and policymakers understand which health policy-related news stories Americans are paying attention to, and what the public understands about health policy issues covered in the news. According to this month’s index, the public remains captivated by news coverage of the Ebola virus. Fewer, but still substantial shares, report following the conflicts in Iraq and Syria and the results of the midterm elections.

Polling
Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: November 2014

Following the Nov. 4 midterm elections, nearly half of Americans expect increased debate between the two parties over the Affordable Care Act. In comparison, 42 percent say the amount of debate will not change, and very few (5%) say it will decrease. Conducted just prior to the start of the ACA’s second open enrollment season, the poll also probes the views of people without health insurance, one of the key target groups for outreach and enrollment efforts. It finds the uninsured remain largely unaware of the renewed opportunity to purchase or enroll in health insurance through the marketplaces over the next few months.

Assessing Americans’ Familiarity With Health Insurance Terms and Concepts

With the approaching launch of the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance marketplaces and at a time when open enrollment is also happening for many job-based plans, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,292 U.S. adults to shed light on Americans’ understanding of basic health insurance terms and concepts, and to identify gaps in awareness that could lead to difficulties for some individuals as they choose new plans or use their health plans.

ACA Advertising in 2014 – Insurance and Political Ads

This study analyzes the volume and content of political ads mentioning health care issues that aired in 2014 through Oct. 15, as well as health insurance spots promoting specific insurance products or encouraging enrollment in marketplace plans. It finds that about 14 percent of political ads in all races mention the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare or any of the law’s specific provisions, mostly in a negative way.

Data Note: Update On Public Confidence In U.S. Health Institutions To Deal With Ebola

The October Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found that majorities of the public said that if a case of Ebola were diagnosed in their area, they would have a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of confidence in state, local, and federal health authorities to contain the disease and prevent it from spreading. Given the evolving news story, we re-surveyed the public from October 17-19 to determine whether confidence in health authorities to prevent the spread of Ebola has changed in light of more recent developments.