LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 31, 2014) — Kentuckians’ support of the federal health-reform law remains low, with only 30 percent saying they view it favorably and 48 percent unfavorably, but 57 percent said they didn’t have enough information to say how the law would affect them personally.
Of those who said they did have enough information to know how the reform would affect them, 57 percent thought it would affect them favorably, and 39 percent said they thought it would affect them unfavorably. Among those who said they didn’t have enough information, the results were almost exactly the reverse: 39.5 percent favorable and 59 percent unfavorable.
In the Kentucky Health Issues Poll, 66 percent of Kentucky adults said the law had no personal effect on them or their families. The poll was taken from late October to late November, the first and second months that the state health-insurance exchange created under the law was open.
The exchange offers private insurance plans for individuals and small businesses, and the opportunity for low-income people to sign up for the free Medicaid program. However, the health-insurance market in Kentucky is dominated by large groups, whose members are much less likely to realize the impact of Obamacare. The law has many other effects that are less visible, such as rebates from insurance companies that don’t spend at least 80 percent of their premium revenue on health care. It may be too early in the game for most people to have discovered how exactly the new law will affect them.
The negative effects were clear for people who had to pay more for health insurance because their policies weren’t sufficient to comply with the law. That showed in the poll’s finding that 21 percent of Kentuckians reported that the it had affected them negatively, up from 16 percent in 2011. Seven percent said it had affected them positively, down from 11 percent in 2011.
The poll was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health, formerly the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, and was conducted by researchers at the University of Cincinnati Oct. 25 through Nov. 26. Its error margin is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
A Public Policy Polling survey in earlly January yielded similar results regarding Kentuckians’ views of the PPACA. According to this poll, only 30 percent of voters in Kentucky approved of the Affordable Care Act, while 56 percent did not approve. The majority—69 percent—believe the health reform has been a failure in the rest of the country, while 22 percent of Kentuckians believe it has been a success. “There’s only so much voters in Kentucky are going to say nice about anything related to Obamacare, so even breaking even on the implementation numbers in the state seems to be a pretty big success for Beshear,” the report said.
Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.