The Campaign Spot

57 Percent Believe Obamacare Includes a Public Option

Obamacare is akin to a national case of hyperopia: the closer it gets, the fuzzier and less clear it becomes.

No, really; as the implementation of the law approaches, Americans understand less about it than they did three years ago:

Sixty-seven percent of the uninsured younger than age 65 — and 57 percent of the overall population — say they do not understand how the ACA will impact them, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation…


Seventy-eight percent say they haven’t heard enough to say whether their state plans to expand Medicaid, a decision the Supreme Court made optional in its landmark ACA decision last year. “This is equally true in states where the governor has states they will expand Medicaid and in those whose governor has said they will not move forward with the expansion,” the pollsters note.

In fact, the public seems actually to be even less knowledgeable about the health law’s more popular provisions than they were three years ago, including tax credits to small business to buy insurance, subsidy assistance for individuals and guaranteed issue of health insurance.

Many also continue to hold false impressions of the law: 57 percent incorrectly believe that the ACA includes a public option. Nearly half believe the law provides financial assistance for illegal immigrants to buy insurance. And 40 percent — including 35 percent of seniors — still believe that the government will have “death panels” make decisions about end-of-life care for Medicare beneficiaries.

The poll analysis asserts “death panels” don’t exist, but that’s only because the Independent Payment Advisory Board tries to ignore that nickname.

From the American Medical Association’s summary:

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act established a 15‐member Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to extend Medicare solvency and reduce spending growth through use of a spending target system and fast track legislative approval process. By April 30 of each year, beginning in 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Actuary’s Office will project whether Medicare’s per‐capita spending growth rate in the following two years will exceed a targeted rate . . .

If future Medicare spending is expected to exceed the targets,the IPAB will propose recommendations to Congress and the President to reduce the growth rate. The IPAB’s first set of recommendations would be proposed on January 15, 2014.

The only way to cut the costs is to declare certain treatments insufficiently cost-efficient to be covered by Medicare. Citing “serious concerns,” the American Medical Association opposes the IPAB and supports its repeal.


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