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Healthcare News Poll: The Public Remains Unaware, Disappointed and Surprised

Stack of newspapersHere’s a bit of a shocker. Among ordinary citizens, healthcare news doesn't have the awareness factor that you might think. Better than half of the general public is unaware of, or misinformed about, the recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) regarding the Affordable Care Act.

After weeks of intense, major-media news coverage, it seems that healthcare marketing and communications professionals still have their work cut out for them. “Just 55 percent of the public knows that the Supreme Court upheld most of the health care law’s provisions,” according to a Pew Research Center poll, “45 percent say either that the court rejected most provisions (15 percent), or do not know what the court did (30 percent).”

By this survey, the American citizenry continues to be divided about the Court's decision to uphold the law, “40 percent say they disapprove of the decision, while 36 percent approve and nearly a quarter (24 percent) offer no opinion. (The national Pew research polled 1,006 adults immediately after the SCOTUS ruling.)

In a word…“The top single-word reactions to the court’s decision are ‘disappointed’ and ‘surprised.’ While “disappointed” is by far the top reaction among those who disapprove of the decision, “good,” “surprised” and “happy” are the top words among those who approve of the ruling.”

Meanwhile, the collective voice of social media sounds-off…

To the extent that social media—Twitter, Facebook, blogs—is a barometer of public attitude, the Pew Research Center captured a couple million online statements about the Court’s decision. Their conclusion: the sentiment was “passionate” and “divided.”

“From ‘Crushing New Taxes’ to ‘a step in the right direction,’” Pew reports, “…and at first heavily tilted toward those in favor of the ruling. But by the end of the weekend, the tenor of the conversation had changed as those in opposition became more vocal. This sentiment matches closely the divided public opinion over the health care ruling.”

The complete Pew backgrounder is here. And, a related post about How Two Hospitals Handled the Media Run-up to the ACA Decision.

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