Health insurance facts: What people get right and wrong

Most Americans know that we pay a lot for healthcare compared with other developed countries without necessarily better results, but there’s still a lot of confusion, notably about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

That’s based on a poll published January 9 that was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of National Public Radio. Today’s NPR report about it can be found here. A detailed PDF document can be found here.

Only 49 percent of those surveyed were aware that the number of Americans without health insurance has reached a record low. It would be even lower if the remaining 19 states accepted Medicaid expansion.

This is a major achievement of the Affordable Care Act and more people ought to know about it. But 24 percent had it exactly backwards, mistakenly believing the number of uninsured has gone up. Of the rest, 11 percent thought there hadn’t been much change, and 17 percent said they didn’t know. At least we can say that more people got it right than wrong, so while it could have been better, but obviously it could also have been worse.

And to prove it, here’s worse:

Survey participants were asked, “True or false: The ACA has limits on end-of-life care.” The correct answer is of course “False.” But despite the extensive debunking of the old ridiculous “death panel” lie, only 18 percent got the answer to this question right. Half said they didn’t know. Even among Democrats half said they didn’t know, and more than a quarter thought it was true. Good grief…

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