Poll Finds Many Elderly U.S. Residents Unaware of Reform Provisions
Just 17% of elderly U.S. residents correctly answered half of the 12 random questions about the new health reform law and its key provisions, according to a survey released on Monday by the National Council on Aging, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Lillis, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 7/26).
The survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive between July 9 and July 12, is based on 636 responses from U.S. adults ages 65 and older (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 7/26). The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points (McCarthy, CongressDaily, 7/27).
The survey found that:
- None of the respondents correctly answered all 12 questions;
- Nearly half of the respondents incorrectly said the federal health reform law will increase the national deficit over the next 10 years;
- More than 62% of the respondents were unsure about the expected changes in Medicare Advantage under the overhaul (CQ HealthBeat, 7/26);
- 14% knew that the law does not cut payments to physicians who treat Medicare beneficiaries;
- 24% knew that the overhaul is expected to extend the solvency of the Medicare trust fund;
- 14% were aware that the new law is projected to reduce deficit spending (Lillis, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 7/26); and
- 42% believe that the new law will reduce their Medicare benefits (CQ HealthBeat, 7/26).
NCOA officials said that the survey illustrates the broad misunderstanding about the health reform law among elderly U.S. residents and concluded that lawmakers from both parties were to blame for the misinformation (CongressDaily, 7/27).
NCOA Launches 'Straight Talk' Education Campaign
The survey coincided with a new NCOA national education campaign to help elderly U.S. residents better understand the mechanics and benefits of the health reform law, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
The campaign -- called "Straight Talk for Seniors on Health Reform" -- will include town-hall meetings, interactive quizzes and online seminars to provide elderly U.S. residents with comprehensive information about the reform law.
Senior advocacy groups and the Obama administration also have planned outreach programs intended to address misinformation and a lack of information about the short- and long-term effects of the new reform law among older U.S. residents (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 7/26).
Survey Highlights Democrats' Challenge for Midterm Elections
NCOA's survey emphasizes the challenge facing Democrats as they attempt to use the overhaul to convince voters -- particularly elderly U.S. residents -- that the potential benefits of the reform law outweigh its cost and mandates in the months leading up to the congressional midterm elections in November (Lillis, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 7/26).
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