A majority of Americans say the law has not changed their health-care costs or quality, despite efforts by Republicans to paint it as costly, and remarks by Obama emphasizing ways the measure has improved care.
According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, awareness of the health insurance marketplaces is relatively low, with 51 percent of respondents knowing they will be available. That percentage shrinks to 44 percent in states where the government is not actively promoting the law.
The lack of awareness is prevalent among those who would be affected most greatly, according to Pew, which found that only half of the uninsured were aware of the exchanges or the subsidies for low-income people.
Confusion persists despite a number of high-profile efforts to get the word out. In Maryland, health officials announced a partnership with the Baltimore Ravens. Enroll America, a large nonprofit with White House connections, has been going door to door in a number of states and earlier this summer posted an ad in Times Square.
Evergreen, the Maryland health co-op, estimates it has reached 10,000 people through its canvassing efforts.
Obama has tried to highlight the law’s benefits. On Thursday, in a speech to his Export Council, he praised the legislation and said it is “starting to bear real fruit.”
Advocates say some of the confusion could arise from the fact that the marketplaces are not necessarily being promoted as Obamacare, or its formal name, the Affordable Care Act. So people may know more than they think when asked about their familiarity with the health-care law.
In Oregon, for instance, health officials this summer mounted a whimsical $3.2 million television ad campaign that never mentioned Obamacare. Rather, it used the state’s quirky music scene to promote state pride and good health, and to drive people to the marketplace’s Web site and hotline.
“We’re building a product that’s for Oregonians and by Oregonians,” said Amy Fauver, spokeswoman for Cover Oregon. “We don’t really need to get involved in the national political debate about the Affordable Care Act.”