The survey of 2,500 U.S. adults in July by TNS, a consulting group with offices in 80 countries, found 11 percent have a high level of understanding of most elements of the Affordable Care Act.
William Bruno, vice president at TNS, found consumers appeared to gain perceptions of the healthcare reform legislation from the generalities conveyed from key political leaders and overall media coverage.
"The lack of understanding of healthcare reform is resulting in sharply divided opinions on its ability to impact the healthcare and insurance issues that concern the populous," Bruno said in a statement. "The disparity in opinion is in stark contrast to the common ground that crosses party lines when it comes to the need for healthcare reform."
Americans generally agree on the end goals for health reform -- appropriate and effective patient care, lower cost and easier access to coverage for all. But, among self-reported Republicans, 71 percent disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, while 9 percent agreed. Among Democrats, only 11 percent disagreed with the decision while 61 percent agreed.
Fifty-one percent of Republicans said healthcare reform would address the issue of the uninsured being able to obtain coverage with pre-existing conditions, but 68 percent of Democrats did.