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Strong support, but gaps in knowledge, about new health care law

horizon aca poll

Most Maryland residents support the new health care law, but many don’t know key details about it, a new poll says.

Photo by: The Horizon Foundation and Maryland Health Care For All! Coalition

Support for the new federal health care law is solid in Maryland, but a survey released yesterday by The Horizon Foundation and the Health Care for All! Coalition finds that implementing it is going to be a challenge – a lot of people don’t know many details about how it will work.

Of 1,400 Maryland resident surveyed by phone, 59 percent said they support or strongly support the Affordable Care Act compared to just 19 percent who oppose it. But only about 30 percent of people surveyed said they know “a lot” about specific provisions of the law.

“We have a lot of work to do – the people who stand to benefit the most from the law actually know the least about it,” said Nikki Highsmith Vernick, president and CEO of The Horizon Foundation, an independent health philanthropy group based in Howard County.

Vernick, who spoke at a gathering of health care advocates at the Baltimore headquarters of MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, was referring to a finding in the survey that broke responses down by income and other measures.

More than 60 percent of Marylanders earning less than $30,000 said they know just “a little” or “not much” about the benefits of the law. More than half of women without a college education, those earning between $30,000-$50,000 and African American women report the same.

By contrast, 20 percent of those earning more than $100,000 say they know only “a little” or “not much” about health care reform, according to the survey, which was conducted by Lake Research Partners.

The poll also showed that physicians were the most trusted source of information on the law and that support for it went up when respondents were given key details about the legislation.

“People like it and they like it even more when they know more about it,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Health Care For All! Coalition, which sponsored the poll, along with Horizon.

The coalition is a Baltimore-based network of faith, labor, business and community leaders advocating for quality, affordable health care.

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  • cwals99

    I would encourage people to get to know the issues in this reform.  It is not whether to have this reform or no reform, as either way most people will be ill-served.  It is whether this reform has a public or private approach that will make a huge difference.  Maryland has taken a private approach and as such…..most people will get only what I call ‘public health checkups’.

    The catch words of this Health reform are ‘coverage for preexisting conditions’, ‘children to age 27 on parent’s policy’, and ‘health exchange to help people buy insurance’.  Now, what people aren’t reminded of, and this is deliberate, is that most people will not have insurance and therefor will not benefit from any of this.  As businesses shed their health costs by ending health benefits or making them co-pays and high deductibles, families are being forced to forgo good insurance for basic or catastrophic.  These are both on par with Medicaid.  Just as an aside, all of these private worker benefits shed by corporations through bankruptcy, which is most private pensions and benefits, were put into a Federal agency assigned the responsibility of managing these bankrupt accounts.  It is hundreds of billions at this point.  All of these health benefits went from strong coverage to coverage so limited so as to be Medicaid.  See the pattern.  It is thought that with Medicare/Medicaid and all those not able to afford health coverage,.75-80% of Americans will have a Medicaid level health coverage.

    So, in Maryland, where Medicaid was cut even more than the Federal cuts which means ‘a lot’, private health businesses are writing the rules as to how reduced funding for Medicaid/Medicare will be balanced so these companies will not lose their profits.  This is after all the purpose of Affordable healthcare…..increasing health industry profits.  As a result most people will only get preventative checkups and will not be able to afford hospitalization/procedures that are life-saving.  It is truly something to fight against as no family can be assured not to be in this position financially at critical times of life.  Medicare will follow this model.

    Shout out for a public health system that looks like the current Medicare where everyone it treated equally.   

    • Rocky_Ground

       While I share your desire to have a “Medicare-for-all” approach to health care, I must take issue with your characterization of the Affordable Care Act. This legislation will usher in enormous benefits for many Marylanders — hundreds of thousands of people who do not now have access to affordable insurance. In my view, your comment does a disservice to public understanding of the benefits.

      • cwals99

         I suggest you read about the status of people in Massachusetts who have lived with this plan for a few decades….it is from where it comes.  I’m not saying it is bad.  I’m saying that if the intent is to protect corporate profits it is not good.  You hear time and again about all these people never having had insurance now getting it, but you don’t hear about the tiered level of coverage these insurance plans offer so as to make the care covered no different than that received by the poor now.  With co-pays and deductions these insurance policies will be like auto insurance where everyone avoids using it because their rates will rise or it doesn’t cover enough.  That is how private health systems lower cost.

        That is the issue people need to shout out against.  These tiered plans offered by Maryland’s and private insurance companies will offer a continuous lowering level of coverage so as to be useless to most.  The point of this reform for those pols looking to protect health industry profits will be to lower health costs by lowering access and quality of care.  That is what is happening in Maryland.

        The Medicare for all would keep the system of equal care for all and provide for government regulation of cost.  We would hope their would be incentive to limit corporate profit margins in this industry dealing with life and death.  Granted we would need to build fraud enforcement that is completely missing from entitlements now.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jamiehunt344 James Hunt

     I dunno, Gerry. It’s been only two and a half years since then-Speaker Pelosi said of the 2000+ pages of Obamacare, “We have to pass the bill so you can know what’s in it.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoE1R-xH5To  How many people have actually read it, and the numerous associated rulings? Not many. Like a lot of well-intentioned gov’t programs, this one is going to have a lot of unpleasant side effects which will become apparent around the time Obama wraps up his second term and retires to Hawaii.

    • Gerald Neily

      James, I’m not disagreeing with you at all. My main point is simply that it’s meaningless that support increased from 59% to 73% when the question was accompanied by “key provisions”, just as the casino ballot question passed because it was framed for education spending and even the gerrymander question passed because of how it was posed. Hardly anyone has actually gone on record favoring the gerrymandering, and yet lo and behold, the voters gave it thumbs up!

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