Should we repeal Obamacare and replace it with the Affordable Care?
Say what? Aren't Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act the same thing? How can you replace something with itself?
For more than a third of respondents in a recent survey, the switch makes perfect sense. Seventeen percent said they thought Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were different programs, and 18% said they did not know.
That means 35% were not aware that Obamacare and ACA are simply different names for the same thing.
And 45% did not recognize that repealing Obamacare would eliminate the ACA. Twelve percent thought the ACA would remain in place after repeal, and 32% did not know.
When asked about the effects of repeal, 39% were not aware that it could lead many people to lose Medicaid or subsidized exchange coverage.
The future of the ACA is one of the most important policy issues facing Congress and President Trump. The impact extends well beyond the millions of people who might lose coverage and could reach the entire health care system.
Republicans have forced the issue with a promise to "repeal and replace" the law. However, this survey suggests that a sizeable portion of the population has no idea what that means.
Since the law's passage in 2010, Democrats have been notably clumsy at crafting a message to explain what the law is and what it does. The law's opponents have taken advantage of the widespread ignorance that resulted to spread misconceptions.
If Democrats want to preserve all or most of President Obama's signature legislative accomplishment, they might start by devising strategies to more effectively explain what is at stake. If almost one-third of the population doesn't know which law is being debated, the chances of informed public discourse are slim. And that can only help opponents by concealing the likely effects of their "repeal and replace" proposals.
The ACA has seen a recent upsurge in popularity as more people have begun to realize what losing it could mean. But if supporters want to keep the law on the books, they need to spread that message more widely.
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