As the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is put into effect, ongoing misinformation on the law's content and impact continues to confuse patients and providers and to negatively influence public opinion about the law.
To help ministry organizations explain health reform and correct myths that are being perpetuated, CHA has prepared a resource, "Explaining the Affordable Care Act to patients, caregivers and communities." The document is available under the "What's New" tab on the association's website: chausa.org.
It includes facts to "correct the record" and talking points for explaining the health ministry's position that reform reinforces many priorities of Catholic health care, including compassionate and person-centered care that protects life from conception to natural death. It enumerates benefits that already have rolled out under the Affordable Care Act and sets out the timetable for enactment of other key components including provisions expected to expand health insurance coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans.
The document explains how the law supports creation of jobs in health care and research, and it describes how certain core provisions such as health insurance exchanges have been long supported by both major political parties.
"It is important to be truthful and accurate as we discuss health reform because much of the information in the public sphere is inaccurate or misleading," said Jeff Tieman, CHA's senior director, health reform initiatives. "We hope this resource will be helpful to CHA members as they communicate with patients, caregivers, local media and community leaders."
The Kaiser Family Foundation conducts a monthly opinion poll to gauge public sentiment on health reform. Its December poll found Americans as divided on the health reform law as they were in the spring, right after its passage.
Approximately 41 percent of respondents to the December poll viewed the law favorably, compared with 46 percent in April. Kaiser said 41 percent of respondents in its December poll held unfavorable views of the law compared with 40 percent who gave it an unfavorable rating in April.
Kaiser's surveys continue to show, however, that even those who favor repeal support many of the law's individual provisions. The December poll found that 26 percent of Americans would like to see the law repealed in its entirety; 25 percent want some parts repealed and other parts maintained; 21 percent prefer to leave the law as is and 20 percent would like to see the law expanded beyond its current scope.
Kaiser's November poll asked respondents who supported total or partial repeal to say whether each of six specific provisions should be repealed. Majorities wanted to keep four of the six provisions, including tax credits to small businesses that offer employees health coverage, prohibitions that prevent insurers from denying coverage on the basis of preexisting conditions, a provision that closes the "donut hole" in the Medicare drug benefit and insurance subsidies for low- and moderate-income Americans who aren't offered coverage through their jobs.
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