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Confused About the Obama Healthcare Plan? So Are Most Americans

The weekend after President Obama’s healthcare address to Congress, WEGO Health partnered with global strategic branding firm Siegel+Gale to survey 1,042 members of the general public, and 102 Health Activists to find out how many people truly understand the plan.

What we learned is that only 36.9% of Americans believe they understand the plan. Most respondents couldn’t identify key aspects of the proposal — including funding, who would be covered by a public option, and when the plan would go into effect.

Key findings of the study (you can read the full release on our press page) include:

Only 16.5% of the public believes the plan would not add “one dime” to the federal deficit, and 36.1% believe that the plan will add a “massive amount” to the deficit

• When asked about how the plan would be funded, less than one-third of the respondents cited one of the key funding sources that Obama mentioned – fines to be levied on large companies that don’t offer health insurance to their employees

Almost 20% of respondents answered that funding would come from a fine levied against wealthy individuals – an answer included in the survey questions that has never even been discussed

This speaks to the confusion in the media, the complexity of the issue, and the emotions such a large plan creates. “Clearly the whole health care issue is fraught with complexity, political in-fighting, and emotion that is not helped by poor media coverage,” says Alan Siegel, Chairman and Founder of Siegel+Gale.

• While Health Activists were significantly more accurate than the average consumer on most points, the majority also reported a low understanding of the President’s plan

This last point fits what we know of the Health Activists here on WEGO Health. “Sophisticated Health Activists are power users of online tools, and each Activist influences thousands of others through social media,” noted Jack Barrette, WEGO Health’s CEO, “91% agreed that healthcare reform is a critical issue in the online world. But Health Activists also confirmed that typical consumers they encountered online had a poor comprehension of the Obama health care plan.”

What’s your take on the situation? Do you find yourself confused about the details of the healthcare plan?

How can online communities like WEGO Health help — both to educate Health Activists, and to inspire them to share what they’ve learned — about the specifics of the Obama healthcare plan?


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