Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Health Overhaul: You Want Fries With That?

In a tweet this morning comedian Denis Leary got the state of health in America about half-right:

2 out of every 3 Americans are overweight and do not like the health care bill. Unless it comes with fries.

Sure enough, the sobering statistics on the country's weight problem are spot on. Two-thirds of people in the United States are either obese or overweight, although our national weight-gain spree appears to be leveling off.

But how do Americans really feel about health overhaul? The latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, completed in December, showed 42 percent are for the overhaul, 41 percent are against it and the rest aren't sure or wouldn't answer.

The folks at Kaiser added a "pop quiz" to the December poll to see how well Americans understood the particulars of the the Affordable Care Act. About two-thirds got the right answers to at least half of the 10 true-or-false questions. That means one-third didn't answer more than four questions correctly.

Most likely fact to get right? Seventy-two percent knew the health law will subsidize coverage for financially strapped Americans.

Most likely bit to get wrong? Only 25 percent knew that law doesn't require all businesses, including the littlest ones, to provide health insurance for their employees.

What we still don't know is how the promise of french fries might have changed Kaiser's findings. Maybe they'll add that to the mix next time.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit

Scott Hensley edits stories about health, biomedical research and pharmaceuticals for NPR's Science desk. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has led the desk's reporting on the development of vaccines against the coronavirus.