Fickle about PPACABlog added by Denis Storey on August 6, 2014
Denis Storey

Denis Storey

Centennial, CO

Joined: September 29, 2010

My Company

Believe it or not, sounds like most voters are over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. At least until the next round of enrollments, I imagine.

While the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll shows the law’s unfavorability rating ticking up 8 points since last month — to 53 percent — the big change is just how little of a priority health care issues seem to be right now.

In fact, the health care issue consumers are concerned about right now, according to the poll, is health care for veterans (or lack thereof). It’s a concern Congress has actually heard, passing a bill this week that provides more than $16 billion in emergency funding for VA hospitals. (Of course, it didn’t stop them from heading out of town for their five-week summer break. Yeah, they’re just like us...)

And perhaps not too surprisingly, Americans remain pretty evenly split over the Hobby Lobby decision and employer birth control coverage, reflecting a fractured populace when it comes to the sensitive issues of contraception and abortion.

Nevertheless, the decision has inspired fears of overreaching employers using the judicial precedent to further dictate employee health care decisions. Nearly 60 percent of those polled by Kaiser fully expect this ruling to pave the way for more proactive employers.

All that being said, voters would still prefer Congress apply some legislative fixes to the law rather than repeal it entirely, by a 60-40 margin. But that doesn’t make for very good election year rhetoric, so I wouldn’t hold your breath on any actual work being done. And speaking of midterms, it’s worth noting the poll results show that few feel strongly enough about PPACA to turn out for the otherwise sleepy elections.

Finally, education about the law remains a hurdle, especially when it comes to the breadth of their health care options.

“Previous tracking polls have found that misperceptions about [PPACA] are common among the public, and more than four years after the law’s passage this continues to be the case,” the study’s authors wrote. “The July poll finds that fewer than four in 10 Americans (37 percent) are aware that people who got new health insurance under the ACA had a choice between private health plans, while about a quarter (26 percent) think the newly insured were enrolled in a single government plan and about four in 10 (38 percent) say they don’t know enough to answer the question.”

American voters are as mired as ever in their ignorance and apathy, and the court decisions that have stirred up so much consternation (and celebration) in our industry have done little to move the needle with the public at large. These wavering poll results are as full of frustration as they are of illumination. Voters are a fickle lot with a collective memory as short as their convictions are thin, proving once again we get the leaders we deserve.

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