Misunderstanding Healthcare Reform May Impact Patient Care

September 26, 2012
Contemporary OB/GYN Staff

Only 11% of Americans have a high level of understanding of the key aspects of federal health reform, despite substantial media coverage in the 2-plus years since the legislation's passage.

Only 11% of Americans have a high level of understanding of the key aspects of federal health reform, despite substantial media coverage in the 2-plus years since the legislation’s passage.

The lack of widespread understanding of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) comes in spite of a high level of public awareness (92%) of health reform, according to a survey by consulting group TNS.

“The lack of understanding of [ACA] is resulting in sharply divided opinions on its ability to impact the healthcare and insurance issues that concern the populous," says William Bruno, vice president at TNS.

Of course, opinions on the ACA and its effects are rather sharply divided along partisan lines. For example, half of self-identified Democrats in the survey said they thought the legislation would help control health costs, whereas just 15% of Republicans did.

Similarly, 63% of Democrats said the health overhaul would help improve the availability of health insurance coverage, compared with 32% of Republicans.

Survey respondents from both parties shared the most common ground on the issue of pre-existing conditions, with 68% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans saying the legislation would have a positive effect on the ability of people with pre-existing conditions to obtain coverage.

The survey was conducted in July among 2,500 adults, according to TNS.

Surveys among physicians have shown the ACA to be generally unpopular. In a survey released in June by Jackson Health, 68% of physicians said that the ACA would not have a positive effect on the doctor-patient relationship.

In another June survey from athenahealth and online physician community Sermo, 53% of physicians said that the ACA will have a detrimental effect on their ability to provide high-quality care.

Read other articles in this issue of Special Delivery.