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Saks published in 'Health Affairs'

September 24, 2012

Based on recent polls and media coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling in favor of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ASU Regents’ Professor Michael Saks, wrote an article titled, “What Do Polls Really Tell Us About the Public’s View of the Affordable Care Act?” His blog post was published on Health Affairs, a leading health policy journal, on Sept. 21.

“Since its passage, the public has been told repeatedly how it feels about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), namely, that most of us disapprove of the ACA and detest its ‘mandate’ that we be insured,” Saks wrote. “A closer look at the national opinion data reveals that on those and related issues, public opinion actually favors the ACA.”

Saks analyzed polls taken after the ACA passed, which showed a public disapproval that outweighed approval by an average of 5 to 10 points. However, his analysis revealed that a lot of the disapproval came from people who want health care reform expanded, not repealed.

“Very few polls ask why people disapprove. The answers to that question change the picture dramatically.”

Saks continued, “Doubtless, there are larger lessons here about polling: questions that aren’t asked, answers that are overlooked, and the resulting headlines can create misleading impressions that quickly become ‘the facts.’ On important issues, it’s worth digging deeper. When we look more carefully at the ACA’s polling numbers, we see that ‘Obamacare’ is far more welcome to most of the public than the public has been led to believe.”

Read the full article here.

Saks is Regents’ professor of law and psychology at ASU. His research focuses on empirical studies of the legal system, especially decision making,; the behavior of the litigation system,; and the law’s use of science. Saks is the fourth most-cited law-and-social-science scholar in the U.S., and has authored approximately 200 articles and books.