Americans Still Lack Familiarity with ACA

August 23, 2013 ( – A recent Gallup poll found that many people are still not overly familiar with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

With less than two months before health insurance exchanges open nationwide, more Americans disapprove (49%) than approve (41%) of the ACA, with an additional 11% having no opinion.

The poll also revealed that more Americans are pessimistic than optimistic about the future impact of the law. Less than a quarter believed it would make their family’s health care situation better, while 38% said it would make it worse. When asked about the law’s impact on the nation’s health care situation, 35% said it would make the situation better, while 44% said it would make it worse. Americans’ views are essentially the same as they were in June.

Despite a coordinated campaign by the Obama administration to increase awareness about the health care law, the poll found that only 15% of Americans were “very familiar” with the law. Fifty-three percent said they were “somewhat familiar” with the ACA, 18% were “not too familiar,” and 12% were “not familiar at all” with the law.

Of those who said they were very or somewhat familiar with the law, more were likely to disapprove (55%) than approve of it (42%). The picture is much more muddled among those who were not too or not at all familiar with the law, with 36% approving, 39% disapproving and 21% not sure.

Although targeting younger Americans (ages 18 to 34) is a chief aim of ACA outreach efforts, the poll found that these younger Americans are more likely than their elders to have little familiarity with law. More than one in three young adults say they are not too or not at all familiar with the ACA, compared with 28% of middle-aged Americans and 26% of those aged 55 and older. At the same time, Americans aged 18 to 34 are far less likely than their older compatriots to disapprove of the law. However, approval levels are similar across the three age groups.

The poll also found that younger Americans were marginally more likely than middle-aged Americans to say the health care law would make the health care situation of their family, or the nation, better (27% and 37%, respectively). But they were much less likely than both older age groups to say it would make their family’s health care (25%) or the U.S. health care situation (33%) worse.

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted from August 17 to August 18, 2013, with a random sample of 1,021 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.