Kaiser Poll Finds That People With Pre-Existing Conditions Are Unsure Of Health Reform

The Kaiser Family Foundation published the results from its September tracking poll, which questioned respondents about the health reform law and what they know about the pre-existing conditions provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to the poll, Americans remain split along mostly party lines about ACA, with 41 percent viewing it favorably and 43 percent unfavorably.

Fifty-two percent of people polled said they or someone in their household a pre-existing condition — people who will be helped by new regulations in the Affordable Care Act to prevent those with pre-existing condtions from being denied coverage. Of those, 21 percent said they or a family member had trouble getting insurance because of their pre-existing condition; 14 percent said they had been denied coverage. Americans are aware of some of the benefits ACA provides for people with pre-existing conditions, but a sizable minority are unaware of the benefits: 60 percent said they knew that insurance companies cannot deny coverage because of medical history, and 56 percent said they knew the government would create high-risk insurance pools to make insurance more affordable. And only 46 percent said they knew the insurance companies could not set lifetime limits on how much they will spend on a person’s health care.

However, when it comes to how ACA will help patients with pre-existing conditions, only 44 percent of people who say someone in their household has a pre-existing condition think that the law will make health conditions better for those with pre-existing conditions. And 27 percent think they would be worse off. Here’s the chart from Kaiser:

As Matt Yglesias points out, Republicans and some Democrats have opposed the insurance mandate that is included in the health reform law. But without it, the pre-existing conditions regulations and other parts of ACA would be unaffordable. Preventing coverage denials because of pre-existing conditions has been a popular proposal over all, but that message has not fully reached those who actually have a pre-existing condition.