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Strong support but gaps in knowledge about new health care law

Baltimore Brew
November 20, 2012
Support for the new federal health care law is solid in Maryland, but a survey released yesterday by The Horizon Foundation and the Health Care for All! Coalition finds that implementing it is going to be a challenge – a lot of people don’t know many details about how it will work.

Of 1,400 Maryland resident surveyed by phone, 59 percent said they support or strongly support the Affordable Care Act compared to just 19 percent who oppose it. But only about 30 percent of people surveyed said they know “a lot” about specific provisions of the law.

“We have a lot of work to do – the people who stand to benefit the most from the law actually know the least about it,” said Nikki Highsmith Vernick, president and CEO of The Horizon Foundation, an independent health philanthropy group based in Howard County.

Vernick, who spoke at a gathering of health care advocates at the Baltimore headquarters of MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, was referring to a finding in the survey that broke responses down by income and other measures.

More than 60 percent of Marylanders earning less than $30,000 said they know just “a little” or “not much” about the benefits of the law. More than half of women without a college education, those earning between $30,000-$50,000 and African American women report the same.

By contrast, 20 percent of those earning more than $100,000 say they know only “a little” or “not much” about health care reform, according to the survey, which was conducted by Lake Research Partners.

The poll also showed that physicians were the most trusted source of information on the law and that support for it went up when respondents were given key details about the legislation.

“People like it and they like it even more when they know more about it,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Health Care For All! Coalition, which sponsored the poll, along with Horizon.

The coalition is a Baltimore-based network of faith, labor, business and community leaders advocating for quality, affordable health care.

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