Americans are forgetting what Obamacare does

September 27, 2012

The Associated Press released a poll on Wednesday that probes what Americans think the health-care law will -- and won't -- change. The big takeaway seems to be this: Fewer Americans know how Obamacare works than did two years ago.

Most of the questions were in the format of, "Do you think that the new law will or will not do the following after the law is fully in effect?" With a few exceptions -- which we'll get to later -- Americans were less accurate in their answers than they were two years ago. Here's how that went on a few questions, the first two on subsidized health insurance:

Those are two of the more positive provisions of Obamacare that Americans know less about than they did in 2010. But there's also some evidence of Americans forgetting about the less positive parts, like on this question about taxes on drug companies:

There are a few exceptions to this general trend in the AP poll. Americans tend to be significantly more aware of a specific health law provision: The requirement to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.

 

A lot of this probably speaks to the health-care law's delayed implementation timeline: A lot of the bigger provisions of the Affordable Care Act don't take effect until 2014. Unless you're working in the health-care space, there's not a lot of reason to know about the tax subsidies and mandate penalties until they roll out the door.

It's worth noting that, even with Americans sharing their opinions on these issues, there's still a fair amount of uncertainty. When asked to rate how certain they felt on their knowledge of a given provision, usually only about 20 to 30 percent said they were "extremely certain" of their opinion.

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Ezra Klein · September 27, 2012