What People Know

Nate Silver tweets:Make sure to check out the new Kaiser poll on health care. You’ll be shocked at how little people know about the bill.

Really? I doubt that. I have a dim view of human nature, so I already figure that most people don’t know squat about this stuff. Still, I guess you never know. Maybe 73% think that Obamacare mandates monthly applications to the government to justify your continued use of medical services after the age of 65. Or the construction of new Soylent Green factories in every state. So let’s grit our teeth and take a look. Here’s the chart:

Nate is right: I am shocked. But in the opposite direction. I’m surprised people know as much as they do. And the most important stuff — guaranteed issue, subsidies, individual mandate, Medicaid expansion, and funding sources — all score in the 60-70% range. Considering how complicated this stuff is, that’s not bad.

Still, it could be better. So what would it take to turn opponents into supporters? According to Kaiser, it would take wider knowledge of the following features: (1) Tax credits to small businesses, (2) Won’t change most people’s existing arrangements, (3) No federal money for abortion, (4) No federal money for illegal immigrants, (5) Health insurance exchange, and (6) Guaranteed issue. So that’s the stuff to talk up.

And the least popular feature? The individual mandate, by a landslide. It’s even less popular than the $900 billion cost, which is pretty remarkable. Unfortunately, the whole plan falls apart without a mandate, so there’s not much we can do about that. Just learn how to explain adverse selection to your relatives when you’re trying to sell them on the plan, OK?


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