With less than a week remaining to sign up for private health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
, more than half of the uninsured don't know that March 31 is the deadline. And when reminded of the deadline and penalty for not buying coverage, half of the uninsured
still say they won't enroll, according to the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll
Conducted in mid-March by the Kaiser Family Foundation
, the poll paints a discouraging picture for the administration, the state exchanges and enrollment organizations working to sign people up for insurance. Despite recent ramped-up marketing efforts that have enlisted the help of celebrities and athletes and sent President Barack Obama to comedy shows and sports radio, one-third of the uninsured report that they are unaware of the ACA's requirement that they either get health insurance or pay a fine.
It's just one of the areas where people are uninformed or under-informed about the law's provisions, the poll's findings suggest. For example, 46% think that, under the ACA, undocumented immigrants can receive financial help from the government to buy health insurance, and 34% believe that it creates a government panel to make end-of-life care decisions for Medicare recipients.
Public opinion is starting to shift in a more positive direction, even though unfavorable views of the law still outnumber the favorable ones, the poll found. The gap between unfavorable and favorable views is now 8 percentage points, but that's down from a high of 16 in November and in January.
According to Kaiser, 46% of the general public (45% of the uninsured) report an unfavorable view of the ACA, with cost concerns driving those opinions. Meanwhile, 38% of the public (37% of the uninsured) hold a favorable view, and 61% of those individuals cite expanding access to care and insurance as the main reason for their opinions.Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden