Majority of Californians Support the Health Law

Majority of Californians Support the Health Law

A majority of Californians support the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a poll sponsored by The California Wellness Foundation. Yet close to 1/2 of voters feel it won’t affect them very much. Fifteen percent of voters claim to be very knowledgable about the law and 60% claim to be somewhat knowledgable. These figures are 4 and 7 percentage points above the figures in 2011 respectively.

While people’s increased knowledge about the ACA is good news, there are still more younger people who support the law versus elders. For instance, 63% of voters under 30 support the law and only 27% say they oppose it. Only 47% of voters 65 and older, however, support the law and 43% oppose it. This is surprising given all the benefits the ACA adds to Medicare, such as the expanded benefits and reduced costs for preventive care services and drug coverage. For example:

  • The ACA eliminated cost-sharing for many preventive services and added a new annual wellness visit benefit. In the first 6 months of 2013, 16.5 million people with Original Medicare received a preventive service with no cost-sharing.
  • The ACA is also shrinking the Part D prescription drug “donut hole.” If people enter the “donut hole,” they get a discount on brand-name prescription drugs and a subsidy on generic drugs. Since January 2013, over 6.6 million people have saved $7 billion on drug costs as a result of this provision in the Affordable Care Act, an average savings of $1,061 per beneficiary.

Despite the increased benefits this law provides for youth and elders alike, many misconceptions are encouraged by misleading information in the media. For instance:

  • 57% of respondents predicts that the law will cause Medicare beneficiaries to lose health benefits; and
  • 54% said they believe currently insured individuals will be forced to change their coverage.

Such findings only highlight that more accurate, unbiased education and outreach on the ACA is required.

See the Field Poll publication (PDF) for more information on this study and its results. Also see our newsletter and blog articles on health care reform, and visit Healthcare.gov for more information on the ACA.

This article was edited from a California Healthline article, 8/20/13. Also, see recent article in the Sacramento Bee, 8/20/13.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.

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