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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 06/28/2012

Why do Americans think the Affordable Care Act is better for kids than for themselves?

As much of the country awaits today’s expected Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, there’s a divide in public opinion over how much Americans think the law affects their own family versus how it affects children in general.

The most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll on the issue found that only 36 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the law.

The results mirror another recent poll by the Kaiser Family foundation that looked at how the public thought the law might affect their own families. That survey found that 37 percent of Americans don’t expect to be impacted by the law if it stands. Another 31 percent said they expected the law would leave them worse off and 23 percent thought it would make them better off.
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Yet, when asked if the law helps certain groups, Kaiser Family poll respondents were most likely to single out children as beneficiaries. Forty-one percent said it would be good for all kids, or almost double the number who thought they would personally benefit.

Why the discrepancy?

It might be because there’s been some high-profile support for the law from several child advocacy groups — from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which contributed to several “friends of the court” briefs, to the Children’s Defense Fund, to the U.S. Breastfeeding committee.

Here’s what those groups like most:

Beyond the support for a general expansion of health insurance coverage to children, one of the most popular specific provisions among advocacy groups is the mandate that health plans cannot deny children benefits because of a pre-existing condition.

Another that pediatricians embrace is that new insurance plans cover pediatric preventative care without a co-pay.

There’s also widespread support for the continuation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program for children whose parents don’t qualify for Medicaid but who still can’t afford private health insurance through 2019.

The section that says employers must provide a reasonable amount of time and a private space for nursing is big hit among several women’s groups.

And there’s been praise for the provision that allows parents to keep children on their insurance plans until they turn 26 — certainly not the technical definition of a child, though perhaps a more realistic one given the state of the economy and the increasing trend for kids to return home after graduation.

According to the AAP, the allowance has already extended health insurance to more than 2.5 million young adults.

What’s your opinion of the Affordable Care Act? Has it affected your family?

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By  |  07:00 AM ET, 06/28/2012

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