Survey: Most Americans still don't understand reform law

'The challenge of introducing the law to the public for real is just beginning'

Three years after the passage of the health reform law, a majority of Americans still don't fully understand how the legislation impacts them, a new survey found.

Almost 60 percent of about 1,200 consumers surveyed said they don't have enough information to understand how the reform law affects them, according to a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Perhaps more problematic is that 67 percent of the uninsured and 68 percent of low-income consumers, two populations who stand to benefit the most from the reform law, don't completely understand it.

These results demonstrate the uphill road that federal officials, and even insurers, have to take to before most of the reform's benefits take effect. "It is dying hard, but the political fight about the ACA is winding down, and the challenge of introducing the law to the public for real is just beginning," Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, told the NPR Shots blog.

What's more, many survey respondents believed false and inaccurate statements that have been made about the reform law. For example, 47 percent of consumers said it grants subsidies to undocumented immigrants, and 40 percent said the law creates a so-called "death panel" for Medicare members. And 57 percent of the respondents incorrectly said health reform includes a public option.

"Opponents' attacks seem to have taken a toll on the public's expectations, and Americans are now more likely to think the law will make things worse rather than better for their own families," the survey said.

To learn more:
- here's the Kaiser survey
- read the NPR Shots blog

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