WASHINGTON – Just 52 percent of the US public accurately believes the sweeping health care overhaul enacted last year is still law of the land, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey.
Twenty-two percent wrongly said the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act had already been repealed, while 26 percent didn’t know or wouldn’t say.
The results reflect a surprising level of ignorance among the public on an issue that has been one of the most high-profile in recent years, making frequent headlines and being discussed ad nauseum in the press.
Republicans have embarked on a full-blown effort to roll back the law, both through the courts and the legislative process. The GOP-led House passed a bill this month repealing the law, but the Democratic-controlled Senate has no intention of taking it up, effectively killing the odds of repeal through Congress.
The poll results could be a byproduct of disproportionate media attention to lawsuits targeting the individual mandate based on their result. So far, five judges have ruled on the Affordable Care Act — three have upheld it, and two have deemed it wholly or partly unconstitutional.
The New York Times and Washington Post both ran long A1 cover stories on the rulings against the law, while the rulings upholding it earned shorter articles in the back pages of both newspapers, according to data compiled by the Washington Monthly‘s Steve Benen.
Politico published far longer and more prominently-placed articles on the anti-reform decisions. The Post didn’t even write a story about the most recent ruling last Thursday by Judge Gladys Kessler, which deemed the law constitutional.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) circulated a chart illustrating the disparities.
Some observers argue that the rulings striking down the law are more newsworthy as they upend the status quo. But the emphasis on the former may have also contributed to a more uninformed public.
The Kaiser survey, published Thursday, interviewed a random sample of 1,202 adults between Feb 8-13, and has a plus or minus 3 percent margin of error.