Health and Science

Many Americans don't know Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the same, exact thing

Pedro Rojas holds a sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

A lot of people have "fake views" on Obamacare — and/or the Affordable Care Act.

More than one out of every three Americans incorrectly believes that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are different laws, or say they don't know whether they're the same or different, a new poll finds.

The Morning Consult survey comes as Republicans in Congress and President Donald Trump are pushing to repeal the ACA — which is in fact the same thing as Obamacare.

Seventeen percent of respondents to the poll said they believed the ACA and Obamacare were different things.

Another 18 percent didn't know if they were different.

"This confusion was most pronounced among people 18 to 29 and those who earn less than $50,000 — two groups that could be significantly affected by repeal," Morning Consult co-founder Kyle Dropp and Dartmouth College professor Brendan Nyhan wrote in a New York Times column summarizing the results.

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The poll also found that a majority of people — 61 percent — know that if the ACA were repealed without any replacement, many Americans would either lose Medicaid health coverage or subsidies that help them pay for Obamacare plans. But 39 percent of people either mistakenly believed that those benefits would be continued under that repeal/no-replace scenario, or that they did not know what would happen to the benefits.

"Though Republicans were more likely to know that Obamacare is another name for the A.C.A., only 47 percent of them said expanded Medicaid coverage and private insurance subsidies would be eliminated under repeal (compared with 79 percent of Democrats)," the Times column noted.

The Morning Consult polled 1,890 adults for the survey, and had a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Trump and Congressional Republicans said that they plan to replace the ACA — a.k.a. Obamacare — with new health-care legislation. But it's not clear when such a replacement would go into effect, or what form it would take.

Obamacare has been credited with expanding health insurance coverage to about 20 million people by a combination expanding Medicaid eligibility to nearly all poor adults in most states, and offering tax credits to low- and middle-income earners who buy insurance from government-run exchanges. The ACA also allows people under age 26 to be covered by their parents' insurance plans.

The nation's uninsured rate has hit record lows under the ACA, which went into effect in 2010. But Republicans critical of the law have pointed to rising premiums and deductibles in the individual health plan market, which they say make the plans unattractive to many people.

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