Be sure to check out this Colorado Health Foundation interview with Karen Pollitz, MPP. Karen is a senior fellow at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, and she’s also a two-time cancer survivor. So she’s well versed in research associated with healthcare consumer protections and health insurance transparency, and she’s also got plenty of experience with our healthcare system from the patient side of things.
One of the most interesting parts of the interview is the discussion about Americans’ awareness of the ACA details, and their expectation of whether the bill will impact them directly. Karen notes that a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation last August found that only half of uninsured Americans had a good understanding of the main provisions of the ACA. This is particularly interesting because the 50 million uninsured people in this country were one of the primary groups that the ACA was aiming to help. In addition, 47 percent of the uninsured felt that the ACA wasn’t going to affect them directly. I have to wonder if there is any overlap between the people who are unaware of how the major provisions in the ACA work, and the people who have expressed an opinion – one way or the other – about whether they support or oppose the ACA. Karen also pointed out that a lot of Americans are getting their information about the ACA from sources like talk radio and cable TV programs. The likelihood that this information is biased and/or overly hyped in one direction or the other is quite high.
Karen recommends the Kaiser Family Foundation and healthcare.gov as places to go for unbiased, factual information about the ACA. I would agree that both of those are reputable sources of factual data and can help people become better educated about how the ACA will impact their lives. Our own website also has numerous articles about the law, many of which include links to specific text in the bill and plain language descriptions of how things will work once the ACA is fully operational. Although healthcare.gov is overall a factual and informative site, it was set up by the current political administration and it’s fair to assume that people who oppose the ACA might say that the site is biased in favor of the ACA and designed to showcase the positive features of the law while downplaying or avoiding some of the problems (like funding issues and the debated legality of the individual mandate, for example). But for skeptics and those who want to be especially thorough, the site also provides links to the full text of the ACA (you can read it start to finish, or you can use their section-by-section links to skip to a particular topic).