Can America Become More Obtuse? — Affordable Care Act & The Public’s Profound Ignorance

American Citizens Remain In The Dark On Crucial Aspects Of Health Care Reforms

American Gothic

How many times do we need to take a step back and try to explain health care reform… again? For huge swaths of the American public — for a ridiculously absurd number — it’s just not sinking in.

Forget whether you and I disagree on the merits of the Affordable Care Act. We would engage the debate because we are “aware” and educated about the issue’s facts. I’m not speaking about knowledge-based disagreement; I’m talking about willful ignorance proliferating across the nation.

This is the depressing, discouraging take-away from the monthly Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, published by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And once again in April, the numbers underscore our collective ignorance about the domestic policy issue that has dominated political and business news coverage for nearly four years — not to mention an entire and most expensive presidential election!

  • Only 3 out of 5 Americans understand that the 2010 Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” remains the law of the land and is being implemented at full speed, according to the April survey of adults from April 15-20.
  • Among the 42 percent who got it wrong, 7 percent think the Supreme Court overturned the law (it didn’t),
  • 12 percent think Congress has repealed the law (it hasn’t), and…
  • 23 percent simply don’t know (where have you been?)
  • Nearly half — 48 percent — of Americans told Kaiser pollsters a month earlier that they have heard “nothing at all” about their State’s debate over whether to set up an online health insurance marketplace, called an “exchange,” and…
  • a stunning 78 percent said they didn’t know whether their state had decided to expand Medicaid, the law’s single largest avenue to coverage for uninsured Americans!
  • 58 percent of respondents in March told Kaiser they believe health care costs are rising more quickly than usual over the past few years… the exact opposite of what has actually occurred!

Kansas Bored of Education

It’s all very nice and easy to explain away or excuse these figures of ignorance about the single biggest influence in business and inflation and personal bankruptcies in America. Sure, “regular people’s” lives are shaped more by youth soccer schedules than by health care policy, so we should cut the public some slack. Right?

A resoundingly negative, No! If you are voting in elections, you need to know truth and facts. If you don’t, then please keep away from election day voting stations. You endanger democracy and societal progress. And we should be calling it and you out for exactly the danger ignorance presents.

Better yet, please don’t offer up opinions on anything more important than Justin Bieber’s incessantly changing hair styles.

More and more, Americans are embracing the logical conclusion that if they don’t know the facts, it’s difficult to form an opinion. D-oh!

In April, a historic high — 24 percent — said they have no opinion when asked if they generally approve or disapprove of the new health care law. That’s progress of sorts, in a dystopian way.

America’s blind and willful ignorance… That’s why…

  • That’s why we went to war preemptively against a nation that not once threatened the US and had not one weapon of mass destruction (that would be Iraq, my fellow Americans)
  • That’s why the knee-jerk reaction to rescuing the financial markets from complete destruction was considered “communistic” and led to the rise of the hateful Tea Party
  • That’s why the “Birther” movement questioning the President’s American birth got traction
  • That’s why it matters that a dullard such as Sarah Palin even existed on the political scene and almost become the second-most powerful person in the world
  • That’s why our schools are failing and the US falls behind every other major industrialized nation on test scores (how can schools succeed with kids molded [or left bereft] by ignorant parents?)
  • That’s why we need strong federal regulations to protect the safety of Americans from their own ignorance
  • That’s why we need Obamacare to mandate and provide necessary insurance to protect Americans’ health from their own ignorance

ignorance


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