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Americans Still Confused About Health Reform
Date:7/29/2010

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Will the new health-reform legislation mean higher taxes for the middle class? Will panels decide what care very sick, older people should receive?

Not sure? Join the crowd.

A new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll shows confusion still reigns when it comes to the health-reform bill signed into law by President Barack Obama back in March.

More than 2,100 adults were asked to identify from a list of 18 items what's included in the legislation and what isn't. The poll was conducted July 15 to 19.

Most (about 58 percent) knew that the reform package will prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people because they are already sick; 55 percent knew the law permits children to stay on their parents' insurance plan until age 26; and 52 percent realized that people who don't have or buy insurance will be subject to financial penalties.

But knowledge of what the new law contains -- and doesn't contain -- declined from there.

Only about half of those surveyed answered correctly that employers with more than 50 employees will have to offer their workers affordable insurance, while 43 percent knew small business will be eligible for tax credits for providing insurance to their employees.

However, 87 percent either weren't sure or didn't know that the new law would increase the number of people eligible for Medicaid, the government-run insurance program for low-income people. (Starting in 2014, Medicaid eligibility will increase to 133 percent of the poverty level for all non-elderly people.)

And on several questions, the poll respondents were basically uninformed. About 66 percent didn't know or weren't sure if the health-reform legislation would result in insurance exchanges where people can shop for insurance (it will); 73 percent didn't know the law establishes a new tax on the sale of medical devices; while 7
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