Young Adults Least Informed About Health Care Reform

Aimee Simone, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Friday, December 6, 2013
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A new poll from Gallup finds that young adults and those with low incomes report lower levels of familiarity with the Affordable Care Act than do older adults or those with higher incomes.

Getting those younger than 30 to sign up for health insurance provided through the Affordable Care Act is key to the law’s success, but a new poll conducted by Gallup finds that adults in this age group reported knowing the least about the law. The poll also found that those with low incomes, who stand to benefit the most from the law, know less about it than those with higher incomes.
The poll consisted of telephone interviews conducted from November 23 to 24, 2013, with a random sample of 1034 adults living throughout the country. Respondents were asked whether they were very familiar, somewhat familiar, not too familiar, or not familiar at all with the Affordable Care Act.
Overall, 72% of respondents reported some level of familiarity with the health care law—up from 68% in October. But when respondents were divided by age, adults aged 18 to 29 were the group least likely to be familiar with the law. Only 63% of these young adults were acquainted with Obamacare, compared with 77% of those aged 50 to 64. Although lower-income Americans are less likely to have health insurance and more likely to be affected by the law, these individuals were also less likely to be informed about it. While 90% of those with an income exceeding $90,000 per year were familiar with the law, just 70% of those with incomes below $90,000 reported familiarity.
Despite the fact that the law was passed entirely by Democrats in Congress, Democrats included in the poll were also significantly less likely to be familiar with the health care law than were Republicans. Just 65% of Democrats were acquainted with the law, while 88% of Republicans reported familiarity.
Although a majority of adults said they were familiar with the law, only a handful felt they knew it very well. Just 19% of respondents said they were very familiar with the law, while 53% were only somewhat familiar.
Respondents were also asked whether they approved or disapproved of the Affordable Care Act. Those who were familiar with the law were significantly more likely to oppose it than were those who were unfamiliar with it. Among those who reported familiarity, 40% approved of the law and 59% opposed it. Those who were not familiar with the law were evenly split, with 41% approving and 43% opposing. However, these differences in approval levels might be a reflection of political party associations rather than knowledge of the law, given that Republicans were more familiar with the law than were Democrats.

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