California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Poll: U.S. Residents Less Worried That Reform Will Compromise Care

Although a greater percentage of U.S. residents oppose the federal health reform law than support it, concern that the overhaul will compromise individuals' care has declined since the law was passed, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The poll -- which surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults between Feb. 16 and Feb. 20 -- found that 35% of U.S. residents support the overhaul and 47% oppose it, similar to the 39% who favored it and 50% who opposed it when the law initially passed. Overall, 60% of respondents opposed the overhaul's individual mandate to purchase insurance.

However, the ratio of respondents who said they expected the quality of their care to decline because of the overhaul declined from 47% in 2010 to 32% in the most recent poll.

The poll also found that:

  • 55% of the law's opponents believe the overhaul will compromise their quality of care, down from 67% in April 2010;
  • More than 50% of respondents do not believe their quality of care will change; and
  • 14% of respondents think their care will improve.

The survey also questioned respondents on how well they understand the health reform law. It found that:

  • 30% of respondents said they understand the law extremely or very well;
  • 44% said they understand it somewhat; and
  • 29% said they understand it not too well or not well at all (Agiesta/Alonso-Zaldivar, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 3/8).

White House Launches Campaign To Build Public Support

The White House has launched a campaign that will use approaching Supreme Court arguments on the health reform law to highlight how U.S. residents are benefitting from the overhaul's provisions, the New York Times reports.

On Wednesday, White House officials held a meeting with dozens of leaders of not-for-profit groups that support the reform law to help coordinate events that will take place outside of the Supreme Court during the proceedings. Officials plan to call attention to several of the overhaul's benefits, including increased insurance coverage for young adults, reduced drug costs for seniors and no-cost preventive care.

A wide range of advocates representing consumers and individuals with diseases and disabilities, physicians and nurses, labors unions and religious organizations plan to participate in the events, which include speeches, radio interviews and rallies.

According to the Times, opponents of the law also are planning to rally on the Capitol grounds on March 27, the second day of oral arguments (Pear, New York Times, 3/9).

Votes for Health Reform Cost Democrats 5.8 Percentage Points in 2010, Study Finds

In related news, support for the health reform law cost Democratic incumbents 5.8 percentage points in the 2010 congressional elections, according to a study in the journal American Politics Research, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.

Study co-author Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth College said the findings help explain why Democrats lost 66 House seats when they were forecasted to lose between 44 and 45 (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/8).

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