1 in 5 Americans believes health reform has been repealed

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll cites legislative maneuvers and court rulings for the confusion.

By Charles Fiegl — Posted March 11, 2011

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Americans are confused about whether the health system reform law still applies to them. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 22% of Americans believed it was repealed, while 26% of those surveyed were not sure if it was still law.

A recent vote for the statute's repeal in the House of Representatives, which failed in the Senate, and federal court rulings on the constitutionality of the law's provisions "have set up an environment where confusion over the status of the reform law can thrive," the foundation said in reference to its Kaiser Health Tracking Poll released Feb. 24.

Recent legal wrangling over the validity of the law has muddled the matter further. U.S. district courts in Virginia and Florida have found parts of the reform statute unconstitutional, but three other courts have ruled in the Obama administration's favor. The court decisions issued so far are under appeal.

Despite the rulings, the administration is moving forward with the law's implementation, Democratic lawmakers said.

"If one robin doesn't make a spring, then one Florida judge doesn't make a repeal," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D, Ill.).

Legal experts expect the U.S. Supreme Court to ultimately decide the question.

The Dept. of Health and Human Services has continued to dole out millions of dollars in grants to state governments to enact parts of the law. For example, the agency on Feb. 24 announced $200 million in grants for states to scrutinize health insurance premiums.

Still, opinion on the law is split. The Kaiser poll found that 48% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of the law, while 43% have a favorable view. The foundation reported that "four in 10 want to see the law repealed -- with half of those [19%] hoping to see it replaced with a 'Republican-sponsored alternative' and the other half [20%] wanting no further action."

The polling results are available online (link).

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