Expanded comments on Kaiser Public Opinion pop quiz
Does the Affordable Care Act ...?
1. ... Require all businesses, even the smallest ones, to provide health insurance for their employees.
False: No business will be required to provide insurance coverage for its employees. Businesses whose employees have to be subsidized by the government to purchase health coverage will be subject to a penalty to help cover that cost. Businesses with 50 employees or fewer are exempt from any penalty.
Results: 65 percent answered incorrectly, 10 percent did not know/refused to answer, and 25 percent answered correctly
2. ... Create a new government run insurance plan to be offered along with private plans.
False: The Affordable Care Act does not create a government-run insurance plan. The much-talked-about "public option" was not included in the final law. Those Americans not covered by Medicare and Medicaid will continue to purchase health insurance from private companies.
Results: 59 percent answered incorrectly, 14 percent did not know/refused to answer, and 27 percent answered correctly
3. ... Cut benefits that were previously provided to all people on Medicare.
False: Basic Medicare benefits are guaranteed. In fact, Medicare benefits will be expanded to close the Medicare Part D donut hole and provide several new health prevention and wellness benefits.
Results: 45 percent answered incorrectly, 15 percent did not know/refused to answer, and 40 percent answered correctly
4. ... Allow undocumented immigrants to receive financial help from the government to buy health insurance.
False: Undocumented immigrants are specifically prohibited from receiving any kind of financial assistance from the government to purchase health coverage. In addition, undocumented immigrants are specifically exempt from the requirement to purchase health insurance.
Results: 41 percent answered incorrectly, 16 percent did not know/refused to answer, and 43 percent answered correctly
5. ... Allow a government panel to make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare.
False: No government panel (so-called death panels) will ever exist in order to make decisions about end-of-life care. Even though this myth has been thoroughly de-bunked, more than half of Americans still think they exist or are not sure. The death panel assertion resulted, in part, from an amendment to the bill that would have paid Medicaid doctors should they choose to discuss end-of-life options with their patients. These discussions have been part of provider services for many years. As a result of the political debate, this amendment was removed from the final bill, and doctors will not be compensated to lead these important discussions.
Results: 40 percent answered incorrectly, 15 percent did not know/refused to answer, and 45 percent answered correctly
6. ... Expand the existing Medicaid program to cover low-income, uninsured adults regardless of whether they have children.
True: In 2014, Medicaid eligibility will be expanded to include an additional 16 million low-income Americans. Eligibility will be expanded to American citizens under 65 whose annual income is less than 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (in 2011 - $14,484 for an individual and $29,726 for a family of four). This would further reduce costs and cut down on such things as using emergency rooms for routine care.
Results: 20 percent answered incorrectly, 18 percent did not know/refused to answer, and 62 percent answered correctly
7. ... Implement an individual mandate.
True: In 2014, most U.S. citizens and legal residents will be required to have health coverage or pay a penalty. Exceptions will be granted for financial hardship, religious objections, those without coverage for less than three months, undocumented immigrants, those below the tax-filing threshold, or if the lowest-cost plan is more than 8 percent of income. Funding from this provision would be used by private insurance companies to, in part, cover the costs of guaranteeing coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions and to prevent coverage from being dropped if a policyholder's health status should change.
Results: 24 percent answered incorrectly, 11 percent did not know/refused to answer, and 65 percent answered correctly
8. ... Provide tax credits to small businesses that offer coverage to their employees.
True: The Affordable Care Act may offer small employers (that apply) with 25 or fewer employees and average wages under $50,000 a tax credit to give them an incentive to provide insurance coverage. Small employers could receive a 35 percent tax credit between 2010 and 2013 and a two-year 50 percent tax credit beginning in 2014.
Results: 22 percent answered incorrectly, 13 percent did not know/refused to answer, and 65 percent answered correctly
9. ... Prohibit insurers from denying coverage because of health status.
True: Currently, insurance companies can deny coverage for some plans because of health status. As of 2014, insurers can no longer use health status to determine eligibility, benefits or premiums.
Results: 25 percent answered incorrectly, 9 percent did not know/refused to answer, and 66 percent answered correctly
10. ... Provide subsidies to low and moderate income Americans.
True: Subsidies will be offered to low- and moderate-income Americans. A major goal of the new law is to ensure that people who currently cannot afford heath care coverage have financial assistance to purchase private insurance.
Results: 18 percent answered incorrectly, 10 percent did not know/refused to answer, and 72 percent answered correctly