Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be limited to senior citizens. Over the past couple of months, the Chamber of Commerce has taken great pains to misinform small businesses about what the Affordable Care Act does for them, too. But out of nearly 700 seniors quizzed about what health-care reform meant for them, not one was able to get all of the answers right.
A recent National Council on Aging poll conducted between July 9 - July 12, 2010 yielded some pretty startling statistics.
- 21% of respondents said they were "very familiar" with the law, and an additional 64% said they were "somewhat familiar" with it. Of those, 60% said they were satisfied that the information they received was accurate and reliable.
- Yet, when asked if the new law would result in future cuts to their basic medicare benefits, 55% of the "very familiar" group answered "Yes", as did 47% of the "somewhat familiar" group.
- 62% of the "very familiar" group said they believed the new law would increase the federal budget deficit over the next 10 years, with 57% of the "somewhat familiar" group concurring.
- Half of those "very familiar" with the law believes it does not improve the quality of care for beneficiaries with chronic illnesses, and 46% believe Medicare payments to doctors will be cut.
- Remarkably, only 52% of the seniors "very familiar" with the law agreed that uninsured Americans will be covered and younger people would have extra protections.
I would love to know how many of those claiming to be "very familiar" with the law watch Fox News. I would put money on it being more than half. Reading these results made me want to go out and scream from a tall building "This is why we can't have nice things!!!!".
Fortunately, NCOA is a little more measured than me. They've created materials to help seniors understand the law and what their benefits are under the law. Now we need to get out there and help them understand it, because seniors' health is as important a feature of the new law as coverage of the uninsured.
Oh, and maybe we should get them to turn off Fox News for awhile, too.