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Poll Finds More Confusion Than Anger Over New Health Law

This story also appeared on NPR’s health blog,


Think those frustrated tea partiers you hear so much about in the media represent most Americans’ views on the new health reform law? Think again.

The first Kaiser Health Tracking Poll released since health overhaul became law shows that most people are confused — not angry. In the poll, 55 percent said they are “confused” about what the law does, and just 30 percent described themselves as “angry.” (KHN is a project of the Kaiser Family Foundation.)

Of those who reported that they feel unfavorably about the law, 61 percent reported feeling “confused,” too. Just 44 percent of those who reported they liked the bill said they were confused.

That 30 percent — the “angry” group — who said they didn’t like the law were nearly evenly split over why they didn’t like it. Nine percent said they did not like the way the process worked, 7 percent said they did not like the final content, and 12 percent disliked both, according to the poll.

Americans in both political parties also rated cable TV news as their most important source of information about the law — 36 percent. Network news garnered 16 percent, followed by newspapers (12 percent), friends and family (10 percent), and the radio (9 percent.)

And as in previous polls, when people were told the specifics about what the bill does, they approved. Nine in 10 favored new tax credits for small business. Eight out of 10 said they favored provisions to provide free basic preventive care, financial aid to senors with high drug bills, and ending insurance companies’ practice of dropping people with pre-existing medical problems. All of these provisions kick in this year.

And this might give the GOP some pause going into the mid-term elections: The poll shows two-thirds of people who identified themselves as Republicans liked those items.

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