It’s been three years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as “Obamacare.”   So what are the public’s perceptions of it now?  The Kaiser Family Foundation who conducts surveys and research into a wide variety of health care topics, has released the results of their March 2013 survey into American’s perceptions and knowledge of the ACA.

1.    State exchanges and Medicare Expansion:  Regarding whether they knew if their state is forming an insurance exchange for their state, almost half (48%) the respondents admitted to knowing nothing at all.  Another 29% said that they knew only a little.

About the same lack of knowledge exists for Medicare Expansion as does for the exchanges.  A whopping 78% admitted that they had not heard enough to say whether their state was expanding Medicaid to help provide coverage to the poor.

For the record fewer than 20 states have so far set up health insurance exchanges, the purpose of which is to help the uninsured find affordable coverage.  The exchanges although set up by the state, are administered by private insurance companies.

2.    Overall knowledge of the ACA:  More than half say that do not have enough information to say how the bill will affect them.  This is true of numerous demographic groups.  57% of all respondents said that they don’t know how it will affect them, and this number grows to 67% of uninsured respondents and to 68% of respondents with household incomes under $40K.

3.    Truth vs. Fiction: 
Affordable Care Act misconceptions
It's clear from looking at the chart above that there's a whold lot of misinformation about the legislation.

4.    Top 3 most favorable and least favorable elements:  
Top 3:  Tax credits to small businesses to buy ins. For employees  88%
Close Medicare “doughnut hole 81% (the doughnut hole was the coverage gap in prescription medication coverage).
Create health insurance exchanges  80%

Bottom 3:  Individual mandate 74%
Employer mandate/penalty for large employers: 71%
Increase Medicare tax:  60%

Overall the public’s perceptions of the bill have not changed.  Democrats like it, Republicans don’t.  But those numbers should change somewhat in 2014 as the law actually kicks in, and the reality of the bill becomes obvious.  Hard to say which will way it will tip, but it’s safe to say that misinformation about the bill will lessen once it goes into effect.