Americans' Understanding Of ACA Is 'Staggeringly Low', Harvard Professor Says

Rene Letourneau | Government Health IT | October 22, 2012

The Affordable Care Act has polarized Republicans and Democrats despite the fact that many voters cannot explain the healthcare reform legislation to any significant degree, said Robert Blendon, ScD, professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health during a speech to the Massachusetts Medical Society on Oct. 18.

“Eighty-three percent of Republicans in America oppose this law,” said Blendon. “But Democrats love this bill. It’s a litmus test for being a Democrat today. If you don’t like this bill, you are not a Democrat.” Compounding the polarization, said Blendon, is the general lack of understanding about the specifics of the healthcare reform legislation that exists among most Americans.

“The level of understanding of what the ACA does is staggeringly low, even for people who love it,” he said. “Most Americans do not understand the context of the legislative policy for how it will affect their lives.” Instead of relying on their own knowledge of the law, most Americans follow the lead of the high-profile people they respect, said Blendon...