Back in 2009, Democratic members of Congress were heckled about their support for President Obama's health care overhaul in lively town halls across the country. Liberals complained that many of these angry voters just didn't understand what the Affordable Care Act would do. (It's true that in 2010 polls showed that while most voters opposed the overall bill, they overwhelmingly supported many of its key provisions.) Given that history, Democrats -- especially those in the White House -- have another reason to tear out their hair today: a new poll shows that Americans know even less about the law than they did a year ago.
The Hill's Sam Baker points to the monthly tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which shows that only 58 percent of Americans know the ACA gives financial aid to people who have to buy their own insurance, way down from the 72 percent who knew that last summer.
Summer 2010: 72 percent of Americans knew that the ACA gives financial aid to lower-income people who have to buy their own insurance under the law.
Summer 2011: 58 percent know that.
Summer 2010: 66 percent were aware that the ACA expands Medicaid to poor people without kids.
Summer 2011: 47 percent know that.
Summer 2010: 64 percent knew the government now requires all insurance plans to offer a basic level of benefits.
Summer 2011: 57 percent know that.
Today, 49 percent of Americans think the health care overhaul will make things better for the uninsured; in April 2010, just after it became law, 67 percent of Americans believed that (Obama is pictured signing the bill above). Yet the law's approval rating is about the same as it was a year ago, with 44 percent holding an unfavorable view of the law.