Will the nation be better or worse off with Obamacare? Most rural Nebraskans think the nation will be worse off under the new health care law, though many also acknowledge they don't sufficiently understand the law. Those are some of the findings of the newest 2013 Nebraska Rural Poll.
The 18th annual University of Nebraska-Lincoln poll was sent to 6,320 households in Nebraska's 84 nonmetropolitan counties in March and April. Results are based on 2,317 responses.
The poll asked participants a series of questions about their own health-insurance situation and about their opinions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care reform law, passed by Congress in 2010.
Fifty-five percent of respondents reported having health insurance through their job benefits or their spouse's. Twenty-four percent said they have insurance through a government program such as Medicaid or Medicare. Nine percent said they have no health insurance.
Most likely to be uninsured are those who live in North Central Nebraska, people with lower household incomes, people who never married, people with lower education levels and people with foodservice or personal care occupations.
The poll also found rural Nebraskans to be highly skeptical about the Affordable Care Act. Cheryl Burkhart Kreisel, UNL Extension specialist in entrepreneurship/business development, said that skepticism is not surprising, considering the law came from a Democratic president and members of Congress, "and we're polling a very conservative red state."
Fifty-four percent of poll respondents said they think the country will be worse off under the new law, and just 9 percent think it will be better off. Also, 52% think self-employed individuals will be worse off, and 8% think they will be better off.
Thirty-five percent said they believed people currently without health insurance will be better off under the new law, while 27% think they'd be worse off.
Thirty-six percent think the new law will be somewhat successful at increasing access to health insurance coverage, while 27% think it won't.
58% think the law will not succeed in decreasing overall health care costs, while only 13% think it will. Also, 44% think it will not help increase the quality of health care, while 24% think it will.
Persons living in or near smaller communities are more likely than those in or near large communities to say they and their family will be worse off under the new law: 56% compared to 43%.
"There's a lack of trust in the entire system," adds Randy Cantrell, rural sociologist with the Rural Futures Institute.