Opposition To Health Care Reform Decreasing, But Seniors Remain Split

A July Health Tracking Poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that opposition to health care reform continues to decrease, but is still being driven by popular misconceptions about the law. Seniors — most of whom already have access to insurance — also view the law more negatively than “their younger counterparts,” the survey concluded:

The July Health Tracking Poll indicates overall public support for the health reform law is steady from June, while unfavorable views of the law have trended downward. Half the public (50%) now expresses a favorable view of the law, while 35 percent say they have an unfavorable opinion (down from 41% in June) […]

[Seniors] remain roughly split about the law with 46 percent of seniors holding an unfavorable view of the law and 38 percent holding a favorable one. While 35 percent of seniors think they will be worse off under reform, a greater share (57%) say they will be better off (20%) or it will make no difference (37%).

A large number of seniors “mistakenly believe the law includes provisions that cut some previously universal Medicare benefits” and 36% think that the law creates ‘death panels.’ Also, only 14 percent of seniors know that the law will increase the Medicare Part A trust fund by 12 years “and nearly half (45%) of seniors think the health reform law will weaken the financial condition of the fund. “


These results are interesting in that they demonstrate the effectiveness of the GOP’s pre-reform messaging and the ineffectiveness of their current repeal and replace campaign: once a benefit has been extended, the public don’t want it taken away. Only 27 percent of the public overall say the law should be repealed “as soon as possible,” a number that’s remained consistent since June.

On the seniors front, the results are also promising. While many still cling to the vestiges of the old death panel attacks, a good number remain uncertain about what’s in the law and may still be swayed by the positive news around implementation. This is evident in this poll and in an earlier survey released on Monday. That questionnaire, sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), “found that only 17 percent of respondents could answer even half of the 12 questions about key provisions in the law.”