More docs accept reform law, but public remains ill-informed

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Time flies when you're trying to reform the healthcare system. Although it's  been three years since the Affordable Care Act became law, 57 percent of Americans and 67 percent of uninsured adults still don't know how it will affect them, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

Moreover, many Americans continue to misidentify which provisions are actually included in the law and which are not; for example, 57 percent mistakenly think the reform law creates a government-run health plan.

Three years in and the public remains almost split over the ACA, with 37 percent in favor of the law and 40 percent against it, according to the poll.

The findings also show that Americans hold a more negative outlook of how the law will affect healthcare costs and quality, Kaiser Health News reported.

Patients' lack of understanding and education can drive up healthcare costs, going against the law's intentions. So hospitals have been ramping up efforts to keep patients informed about their care under new ACA provisions, such as holding educational forums and offering online resources, healthcare leaders previously told FierceHealthcare.

Meanwhile, physicians are showing "constrained optimism" over healthcare reform, despite concerns about losing clinical autonomy and compensation under its provisions, MedCity News reported.

In a new survey from Deloitte, 44 percent of doctors said the ACA is a good start to dealing with healthcare access and cost problems. Singling increasing acceptance, only 38 percent of physicians said the reform law is a step in the wrong direction, down from 44 percent last year.

To mark the ACA's third birthday, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is celebrating how it says the law is successfully incentivizing high-quality, low-cost care--particularly through the creation of accountable care organizations and penalties for excessive readmissions, according to a Health Affairs blog post.

"Taken together, these improvements are providing more value for your health care dollar and helping to fuel historically low cost growth rates in Medicare and Medicaid," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote yesterday in the post.

For more:
- here's the poll (.pdf)
- read the KHN article
- check out the survey
- read the MedCity News article
- read Sebelius' blog post

Related Articles:
4 ways to educate patients about the Affordable Care Act
For reform to work, patients need to get a clue
Well-informed patients help cut readmissions, costs
Will the reform law lead to higher premiums?