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Study - The Public's Biggest Health Reform Questions

With major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) right around the corner, including the opening of the state Health Insurance Marketplaces on October 1st, where does the general public stand in understanding how the ACA impacts them? The Kaiser Health Tracking Polls provide monthly insights on the public's awareness of the ACA. The latest tracking poll (September 2013) found that 51% of Americans say they don’t have enough information about the law to understand it. 

BigQuestionsHealthReform

Among the 51% who say they don’t have enough information about the law to understand how it will impact their families, the poll asked this open-ended question:

"What one question would you most like to have answered to help you understand how the health care law will impact you and your family?"

Here are their answers - a representation of the public's biggest questions about health reform.

Biggest Question - Cost (19%)

Of those polled, 19% said their biggest question was about cost - cost to them personally, cost to their employer, and cost to the nation.

  • “How am I supposed to afford this financially?”

  • “I am having a problem with medication costs. How would this new law help?”

  • “Will the medical insurance be free or will I have to pay?”

  • “Is it going to lower the cost for the average person in the long run?”

  • “How is it going to be sustainable?”

  • “Who is paying for the health care program?”

  • “How is the cost of insurance going to be regulated so that I would only pay what I could afford?”

  • “Why is my company stating that our insurance rate will go up?”

Source: KFF

Biggest Question - The Nuts and Bolts (18%)

Of those polled, 18% said their biggest question was about what the law is, how it works, how it impacts them.

  • “Better clarify what it will really means to each American.”

  • “Can you just put it in plain laymen language so we can understand what you’re doing for us?”

  • “I would like to have a non-partisan generated package. I’d like to have the facts rather than a politicized editorial.”

  • “I would like to know more specifics about the law, [such as] where to go to read the law.”

Source: KFF

Biggest Question - How does the Law Help? (7%)

Of those polled, 7% said their biggest question was about how the law makes the health care system better, and who benefits from it.

  • “What does it make better and how is it better than the old law?”

  • “Who really benefits from it?”

Source: KFF

Biggest Question - Who does the Law Help? (6%)

Of those polled, 6% said their biggest question was about how it helps specific groups.

  • “How will it affect the middle class working people? Will we be better off or worse off?”

  • “How will it affect those already retired?”

  • “What will happen to all of us who don’t have papers in this country?”

Source: KFF

Biggest Question - How does the Law Impact Me? (5%)

Of those polled, 5% said their biggest question was about the law impacted them personally.

  • “Am I going to get better services?”

  • “How is my care going to change?”

  • “How it would impact me being age 21 personally?”

Source: KFF

Biggest Question - How does the Law Impact My Medical Care? (5%)

Of those polled, 5% said their biggest question was about the law impacted their medical coverage specifically.

  • “Does it take care of major illnesses?”

  • “I do not understand the limits on benefits. What does it cover?”

Source: KFF

Biggest Question - Will the Law Change My Insurance? (4%)

Of those polled, 4% said their biggest question was about if the law would change their current health insurance.

  • “How is it going to change my health insurance that my employment pays for? Am I going to have to pay for insurance?”

  • “I would like to know if I can maintain my health care insurance exactly as it is now.”

Source: KFF

Other Big Question

Here were other questions respondents said would help them understand the law better:

  • “What happens if we’re unable to afford it? I’ve heard we can go to jail.”

  • “Who is eligible for health care under the health care law, specifically if they [do] not have a source of income?”

  • “Will it change my Medicare?”

  • “If it is so good why is Congress not subject to this law?”

  • “How is this constitutional?”

  • “How does it affect business owners? Do we have to buy or provide [insurance] for employees?”

  • “Are the end of life panels included in the health care law and what is their purpose?”

Source: KFF

Study Methodology

KFF conducted the survey September 12-18, 2013, among a nationally representative random telephone sample of 1,503 adults ages 18 and older, living in the United States. Click here to read more about the study.

What questions do you, your clients, or your employees have about health reform? Leave a comment.

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