One-Third of Americans Don't Know That Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act Are the Same Thing

February 7th 2017

The Affordable Care Act still has a branding problem.

A poll conducted by Morning Consult and published in the New York Times found that over one-third of Americans did not know that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are two names for the same law.

Out of the nearly 2,000 people surveyed, 17 percent thought Obamacare and the ACA referred to different laws, and 18 percent did not know if they were the same or different.

And did people know what would happen if we repealed Obamacare (as Trump has promised to do)? No. Not really.

Only 61 percent of total respondents knew that people would lose coverage through Medicaid or subsidies for private health insurance if the ACA were repealed and not replaced. In fact, 16 percent of respondents said that Medicaid would not be affected.

While Republicans were more likely on average to know that the ACA and Obamacare are the same policy (72 percent), only 47 percent of them knew the consequences of repeal (compared to 79 percent of Democrats).

When asked what would happen if Obamacare were repealed, 45 percent of respondents did not know that the ACA would be repealed, another 12 percent said that it would not be repealed, and 35 percent said they didn't know what would happen, which could be due to the fact that Republicans have not made their replacement plan entirely clear.

During the campaign, Trump promised to "repeal and replace" Obamacare immediately after taking office.

However, that timeline has been greatly extended. In an interview that aired Sunday, Trump told Fox News Host Bill O'Reily that the Obamacare replacement might take until sometime next year.

The promise to repeal Obamacare has been a powerful political tool for Republicans, but it's now bumping up against another reality: many of the law's provisions are popular.

A November survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that "while President-elect Trump and Republican members of Congress work on a replacement to the ACA, this month’s survey finds that many of the law’s major provisions continue to be quite popular, even across party lines."

According to the Kaiser survey Republicans broadly favored ACA provisions that allowed young people to stay on their parents insurance plan until age 26, limited costs for preventative care screenings, and barred insurers from denying insurance based on pre-existing conditions.

kaiser family foundation surveyKaiser Family Foundation -

As a result, the GOP as a whole appears to be edging away from a total repeal.

Given the popularity of its provisions, a number of Republicans have started using the word "repair" instead of "repeal" when referring to Obamacare

In fact, even the dreaded word "Obamacare" has been gaining support in the polls. A poll released by Public Policy Polling found that the net disapproval rating for Obamacare was eight points lower than the disapproval rating for Trump. Perhaps that is because if the law is repealed without a replacement plan, nearly 18 million people would loose insurance.

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