I participated yesterday in the Affordable Care Act public opinion webinar, which I previewed in my July 2 post (below). The presenter, Mollyann Brodie, Ph.D., of the Kaiser Family Foundation, first led participants through an overview of the ACA itself, before moving on to the public opinion aspects. Two of her main themes were how heavily attitudes toward the ACA appeared to be colored by general partisanship, and how public awareness of many ACA provisions remains rather low. As an example of the latter, Brodie talked about how, under the ACA's preventative health section, women cannot be charged a co-pay for a mammogram. Yet, many women may not associate the new policy with Obamacare. On the survey-research side, the main thing I learned was that, later in 2014 and into 2015, large government surveys such as the National Health Interview Survey will begin tracking the rate of health-insurance coverage in the nation. Thus far, organizations such as Gallup and RAND have been providing such estimates. Click here for information on purchasing a recording of the webinar.
Brodie's evidence of partisan polarization in views toward the ACA was pretty compelling, in my view. One apparent exception to the trend, however, comes from responses in a recent Commonwealth Fund survey, among those individuals with newly acquired health insurance. Seventy-four percent of self-identified Republicans expressed satisfaction with their new health plans, only somewhat below the percentages of Independents (82%) and Democrats (85%) reporting satisfaction (see Exhibit 12 of the linked document).