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Pollster: Healthcare Reform 'Fiendishly Complicated'

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 29, 2010

Maybe it was the heated debate on “death panels,” or the inflamed rhetoric about “socialized medicine” and “rationed care,” or the arcane complexity of the sweeping reforms.

Whatever the reason, another online poll shows that most Americans are confused by the healthcare reform law. The Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll found that a majority of the 2,104 adults who took the online survey from July 15-19 could correctly identify only four of 18 reforms included in the new law.

About 58% of adults polled know that the reform package will prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people because they are already sick; 55% know the law permits children to stay on their parents' insurance plan until age 26; and 52% realize that people who don't have insurance will be subject to financial penalties. Half are aware that employers with more than 50 employees will have to offer their workers affordable insurance.

Among other findings: 63% of those polled either aren't sure or don't know if the new law will increase the number of people eligible for Medicaid, (it will); 79% don't know or aren't sure if drug companies will pay an annual fee, (they will); 73% don't know the law establishes a new tax on the sale of medical devices; 66% don't know or aren't sure if the legislation will result in insurance exchanges where people can shop for insurance, (it will); and about 82% think the bill will result in rationing of healthcare, or aren't sure if it will. (It won't).

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