A new analysis by the Urban Institute reveals that wealthy Americans who are white and have private insurance are most likely to oppose the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The survey also found that people who have benefited from at least one provision of the law are still more likely to have a negative view of the law.
Forty-one percent of 8,000 respondents had an unfavorable view of the ACA, 29 percent had a favorable view, and 30 percent expressed no opinion. Respondents in the higher income group had a more unfavorable view of the ACA than respondents in the lower income group. According to the analysis:
Americans most likely to have an unfavorable view of the ACA are in the middle- and higher-income groups, have private insurance, are in very good/excellent health, are white, and live in rural areas.
On the other hand, “Those most likely to have no opinion are the groups most likely to benefit from the law—those in fair/poor health, those with lower incomes, the uninsured, nonwhites and Hispanics, high school graduates (or less), and the young,” meaning that those who could benefit most from the ACA are either uneducated about it or don’t care that it could help them.
According to the Urban Institute, “public education and outreach efforts are falling well short of reaching and informing the ACA target populations who stand to benefit from the coverage provisions.” Part of the effort to prevent health care outreach has come from Republican lawmakers who have attempted to thwart the ACA for purely political reasons.
Last year, for example, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott banned Affordable Care Act outreach based on trumped up concerns about outreach “navigators” or counselors trained to help educate the public about the ACA. Scott claimed he was concerned about what the federal government might do with personal and financial information obtained during the ACA registration process.
“Contrary to Gov. Scott’s statements, consumers will never be asked to provide their personal health information to the marketplace, whether through a navigator or not,” Florida Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said at the time. “There is no such database of American’s health information, and multiple independent fact checkers have debunked this claim.”
In addition, Republicans have launched misinformation campaigns about the law and attempted to impose restrictions on the Department of Health and Human Services and other groups trying to educate the public about the ACA.
Other states actively prevented residents from learning about the ACA by restricting outreach navigators in other ways. Twelve states placed restrictions on the advice navigators could offer residents, and four states barred them from giving advice about benefits, terms, and features of specific health plans, although that is their job according to federal rules.
Alisha is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. You can follow her on Twitter @childoftheearth.