There’s been a lot of reform coverage this week, and we’ve been eating it up. I’ve read—or written—it all, but I think one of the most important pieces of information that's come out of the coverage is this: Americans just don’t get it.
In talking to people, I found out what you can expect on a case that’s hit the Supreme Court—it comes down to politics. My liberal friends—who know nothing of the health care industry—say they’re all for it. And same with the conservative ones—it should be repealed, they say. But frankly, I highly doubt any of them know what the hell they’re talking about. For them, it’s mostly about being on or off the Obama wagon.
As the Supreme Court mulled over PPACA arguments for six hours over the course of three days this week, most Americans really didn’t get what was being discussed and what’s at stake.
A Harris poll out this week found when asked about six important elements of the bill, large numbers of people (from 66 percent to 37 percent) weren’t sure if they are or are not part of the bill. And what’s more, many also wrongly believe there are aspects of the law that simply aren’t in it (so that broccoli comment made by Justice Scalia pointing out the slippery slope of government intervention probably threw a lot of people off).
A colleague of mine who was in D.C. this week for the hearings said the same thing: Some people lining up outside the courtroom said they were there because it was “historical.” But many admitted to not understanding the bill, and I’m assuming none of them spent their free time looking over the near-thousands of pages of documentation that's been released about the bill.
(It’s interesting to note, though, that the one part people do get—the individual mandate—they don’t like. Heck, even a bunch of Democrats agree that part is unconstitutional.)
The thing is, this bill is just so convoluted and pieced out to occur over such a long timeline, that there is a considerable level of ambivalence over it, Danielle Kunkle, a Medicare adviser, told me, “Many people think or hope the changes won’t affect them, or that it won’t matter until 2014 anyway, so they procrastinate getting their brain around it.”
There hasn’t been nearly enough education, considering even the raw basics of insurance confuse people immensely. The mainstream media has either gone the scare tactic route, or the political route. It’s different for employers—and obviously for brokers—attempting to wrap their heads around it because they actually have to comply with it (which, of course, will drive up the cost of what employees are paying for their care—in case a protestor in some form or another is reading this).
But then again, what do I know? I’m just one of many trying to figure out the whole thing. But I know I’m definitely not on board with the government making me buy broccoli. That's just disgusting.