Death panels live

Great piece in Vox today about public opinion on the Affordable Care Act five years after it’s passage.  Not suprisingly, misinformation/misunderstanding was far more common among Republicans (Fox News anyone?).  For example, many (and sadly many Democrats, too) still even believe in “death panels”

And here’s another whole chart of wrongness:

floating chart

If there’s any area of consensus, it’s in misperceptions of the law: 82 percent of Americans either say the price tag has gone up, or aren’t sure (the law’s price has actually decreased as compared with initial estimates), and only 13 percent know the law met its first-year enrollment goals.

The good news?  Some truth is getting through:

Obamacare’s insurance expansion arguably has three really important policies: the end of preexisting conditions, a mandate to purchase insurance, and subsidies to help low- and middle-income Americans purchase coverage.

The Vox poll shows that a majority of Americans know about these three parts of the health-care law. Three-quarters of Americans know there is a mandate to buy insurance in Obamacare; 64 percent are aware that preexisting conditions no longer exist; and a slim majority, 54 percent, know about the financial help now available to buy a plan.

Awareness levels are similar among Democrats and Republicans, suggesting that some facts about the health-care law have broken through — even if they’re not swaying how voters think about the law.

This article points out, that perhaps the most important misperception, though, is in costs, where there is massive misperception:

Forty-two percent of Americans think Obamacare has gotten more expensive over the past five years. Only 5 percent of poll respondents hit on the right answer: budget estimates for the Affordable Care Act have consistently fallen since it became a law.

Make no mistake: Obamacare spends a lot of money on its tax credits and Medicaid expansion. It recoups some, but not all, of that new spending with hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare cuts, which reduce federal health spending. The bulk of the remainder is made up with tax increases. But back when the law was passing, Republicans argued up, down, and sideways that the Congressional Budget Office was sharply underestimating the amount of money Obamacare spends.

The big problem for Democrats is that they thought that once the law was actually in operation and working, Americans would come around.  Alas, it has remained politicized to an absurd degree (40+ votes for repeal, anyone), making it hard for a lot of the truth and successes to make it through to the public.  Frustrating, but the truly good news is that the law is actually working better than expected and a lot more people are getting a lot more needed health care.

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