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The health-care law: Still confused? Join the crowd

Earlier this week President Obama traveled outside Washington to sell his health-care plan as key elements of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act kicked in. So what does the American public know about the law? Well, according to a new survey from the Associated Press conducted by Stanford professor Jon Krosnick, PhD, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a majority are still confused about what's actually in the law and what's not. But if the White House wants to look on the bright side of the data, there's actually good news in the survey: Krosnick says that the more Americans come to know about key components of the law, the better they like it.

You would think that after the protracted and vigorous debate about health care that we've had in this country over the past year people would really understand the package. Well Krosnick doesn't blame the American public for any ignorance. Rather, he points to the lack of access to easily obtainable information about the law. One of the few websites that does offer a font of information is the Kaiser Family Foundation's Health Reform Source, he says.

Is there good news in the survey for Republicans who this week called for repealing the law in their Pledge to America? Apparently not. Repeal only plays well with their Republican base. There, a whopping 97 percent oppose the bill. Among Independents and Democrats repeal does not appeal.

I talked with Krosnick about the survey findings in my new 1:2:1 podcast, and I think you'll hear some things that will surprise you. For instance, for all of the supposed horror stories of those who interact with the health-care system, the survey finds no evidence of an outraged public. Contact with the health care system makes people more positive toward health reform because most people have had good experiences. Krosnick notes, "almost no one has had a significantly bad experience with a health professional." So where is all of the ire directed? At insurance companies.

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