Poll shows majority of seniors are bewildered by new healthcare reform law

The majority of the nation’s seniors have little understanding of what the Democrats’ newly enacted healthcare law actually does, according to poll results released Monday.

The survey, sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), an advocate for seniors, found that only 17 percent of respondents could answer even half of the 12 questions about key provisions in the law selected by the NCOA. 

Only 14 percent of respondents, for instance, knew that the new reforms don’t include cuts to doctors treating Medicare patients; just 24 percent were aware that the changes will extend the solvency of the Medicare program; and only 14 percent were aware that the reforms are projected to cut deficit spending. 

Not one of the 636 respondents answered all 12 questions correctly, NCOA reported. 

James Firman, president and CEO of NCOA, said the poll results reveal the unfortunate consequence of a months-long healthcare reform debate that was “long and complicated and often dominated by political spin that confused seniors.”

“Seniors need to know the key facts about health reform so that they can be informed consumers and educated citizens,” Firman in a statement. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.”

The poll — part of the NCOA’s “Straight Talk for Seniors” campaign surrounding the new healthcare law — highlights the dilemma facing Democrats as they seek to use the healthcare reform law to their advantage in November: convincing voters — particularly seniors — that the law’s benefits outweigh its new costs and mandates.

Still, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) this week indicated that Democrats remain confident that the reforms will help the party in the November’s midterms. 

“The talk about repealing healthcare just won’t go anyplace, so I think everything’s been necessary,” Reid said in a Monday interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. “It’s been good, and our country is better for having passed this legislation.”