Last updated: August 18. 2014 3:11PM - 283 Views
Al Cross Kentucky Health News



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A new poll again indicates that Kentuckians marginally approve of the state health-insurance exchange created under the federal health-reform law, but clearly disapprove of the law itself.


The poll, taken Aug. 7-10, surveyed Kentuckians who said they were likely to vote in the Nov. 4 election for the U.S. Senate. After questions about the Senate race, President Obama and the 2015 governor’s race, would-be voters were asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the Affordable Care Act?” then “Do you approve or disapprove of Kynect?” The terms were not defined; the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is widely known as Obamacare, so opinion of the president influences opinion of the law.


Fifty-one percent said they disapproved of the law, while 34 percent said they approved and 14 percent said they were not sure. But regarding Kynect, the brand for the insurance exchange, 34 percent said they approved, 27 percent said they disapproved and 40 percent said they weren’t sure. The poll’s error margin, which applies to each figure, was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.


The more liberal voters were, the more likely they were to approve of the reform law and the insurance exchange. Among moderate voters, 47 percent approved of both, while 36 percent disapproved of the law and only 17 percent disapproved of Kynect. The remainders were undecided.


Women and Democrats were more likely to approve of both measures. Independents disapproved of the reform law more strongly than Republicans did, and were evenly divided about Kynect, but they were only 10 percent of the total, so the error margin for their results is almost 10 percentage points.


When asked about “implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” 41 percent of self-described likely voters said it has been very successful or somewhat successful, while 54 percent said it had been very or somewhat unsuccessful. Six percent were undecided. The detailed percentages were: very successful, 15 percent; somewhat successful, 26 percent; somewhat unsuccessful, 20 percent; and very unsuccessful, 34 percent.


Asked about “implementation of Kynect,” 21 percent said it has been very successful and 24 percent said it has been somewhat succcessful, for a total of 45 percent. Sixteen percent said it has been somewhat unsuccessful and 13 percent said it has been very successful, for a total of 29 percent. The other 26 percent said they were not sure.


The survey was taken by Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina firm that usually polls for Democrats but produces results that have leaned only slightly Democratic. Eighty percent of the respondents were contacted by an automated telephone call and 20 percent were contacted through the Internet. The online respondents were more likely to approve of the law and Kynect. The main poll results are at http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2014/08/mcconnell-leading-in-re-election-bid.html#more and the details are at http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2014/PPP_Release_KY_8121205.pdf.


Nationally, opinions about the reform law “have been locked in partisan stasis, occasionally moving slightly up and down,” since it was enacted in March 2010, Kaiser Family Foundation President Drew Altman writes for The Wall Street Journal., citing the foundation’s polling. Altman adds that opinions of the law “are stuck in neutral because the law is a proxy for people’s feelings about the president and the direction of the country, which are similarly divided along partisan lines. For many voters, it is almost impossible to tell where opinion on Obamacare ends and opinion on its namesake begins.” Obama is unpopular in Kentucky, getting a 32 percent job-approval rating in the latest public, statewide poll.


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