Poll: 56 Percent Of Americans Believe Health Reform Includes A Public Option

A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that support for the Affordable Care Act increased since its lowest approval dip in October, but Americans are still unsure of the actual provisions included in President Obama’s health care reform law. For instance, while 44 percent of voters have an unfavorable view of reform, 50 percent want to expand or keep it in place, with only 37 percent supporting repeal. A majority also favor its most popular elements like easy-to-understand benefit summaries and tax credits for small businesses:

But a surprisingly high number of voters are unaware that these these provisions are actually part of the law, with a majority falsely believing the ACA includes a new public option. A third of respondents also “think the law allows a government panel to make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare”:

Kaiser suggests that public disapproval of the law has less to do with the actual provisions in the law — voters either like them or don’t know about them — and more with the “general disillusionment with the state of the country and Washington politics” (and, I would add, the long drawn out and complicated process of actually passing reform). If that’s the case, then the Democrats have a real opportunity to build support for the measure by highlighting and campaigning on some of its best features, a task that will seem less daunting as a growing number of voters begin to actually benefit from the law.