(WASHINGTON) — A new poll finds that many Americans are confused about the health care overhaul legislation commonly called “Obamacare.”
The Kaiser Family Foundation released results of a non-partisan study Tuesday finding more than 40 percent did not even know the law was in place.
“Four in ten Americans (42%) are unaware that the ACA [Affordable Care Act] is still the law of the land,” the report says, “including 12 percent who believe the law has been repealed by Congress, 7 percent who believe it has been overturned by the Supreme Court and 23 percent who say they don’t know enough to say what the status of the law is.”
The survey showed public opinion on Obamacare is at its second-lowest rating in the past two years.
Less than half – 40 percent – of adults viewed the ACA favorably, whereas 35 percent said they viewed it unfavorably. Another 24 percent said they did not know or refused to answer.
Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, one of the original crafters of the bill, earlier this month predicted a chaotic implementation process for the Affordable Care Act. “I just see a huge train wreck coming down,” Baucus, D-Mont., said.
The president on Tuesday defended his health care plan against that claim.
“I think that any time you’re implementing something big, there is going to be people who are nervous and anxious about is it going to get done until it’s actually done,” he told reporters.
He went on to say those who would have trouble with implementation were the roughly 48 million Americans who are uninsured to begin with, a minority of the population.
“For the 85 to 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing’s already happened, and their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better, more secure than it was before,” President Obama said. “Full stop. That’s it. Now they don’t have to worry about anything else.”
Recognizing one confusing aspect of the law, the Department of Health and Human Services today made applying to enter the insurance market through the Affordable Care Act a little easier.
HHS on Tuesday released new applications for individuals and adults looking to get health insurance. Officials cut the forms down from 21 pages to seven pages for a family and three pages for an individual.
The applications ask nothing about medical history, beyond whether the applicant or a family member is pregnant and whether they have a condition that “causes limitations in activities … like bathing, dressing [and] daily chores.”
Instead, they resemble tax forms, inquiring about income, Social Security numbers and employment history. They also ask for contact information and race-ethnicity.
The application for families says members of the family who do not require health coverage do not have to list immigration status or Social Security numbers.
President Obama touted the new forms as one of the “refinements” his administration has made with respect to the Affordable Care Act in recent months.
“The challenge is that, you know, setting up a market-based system, basically an online marketplace where you can go on and sign up and figure out what kind of insurance you can afford and figuring out how to get the subsidies, that’s still a big complicated piece of business,” Obama told reporters at a news briefing the morning the new application was released.
“But having said all that, we’ve got a great team in place. We are pushing very hard to make sure that we’re hitting all the deadlines and the benchmarks.”
Three years after the president signed the bill into law, some Republicans continue to oppose it, holding steadfast in their promises to repeal it, while others have given up the fight.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., introduced a bill last week that would have preserved some parts of Obamacare, but it died as other members of his party refused to support it.
“I want to repeal Obamacare completely,” Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., tweeted Monday night, “and I think efforts to exempt Congress are hypocrisy at its worst,” she added, referring to a Politico story suggesting that members of Congress might find a way to exclude themselves from the president’s health care overhaul, which they later rebutted.
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