The Washington Times - February 27, 2013, 10:21AM

A new poll shows four in 10 Americans believe — incorrectly — that President Obama’s 2010 health care law provides benefits to illegal immigrants.

The Kaiser Family Foundation said the results of their poll are indicative of “a number of hard-to-dispel misimpressions” about the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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The law’s intersection with the undocumented population has taken on new meaning as members of Congress and Mr. Obama take a fresh look at passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Among Republicans, 54 percent of respondents said they think the health care law allows undocumented immigrants to obtain financial assistance from the government to buy insurance. Only 27 percent said the law does not, which is the correct answer. More Democrats tended to respond correctly, with 31 percent saying the law provides benefits to illegals while 46 percent said it does not.

Respondents in both parties registered similar percentages when asked if the law lets undocumented immigrants enroll in Medicaid.

However, the majority of those polled said if lawmakers on Capitol Hill pass legislation that paves the way for undocumented immigrants to apply for provisional legal status, then these residents should be eligible for the array of benefits contained in Mr. Obama’s reforms.

The contemplated plans in Washington would not extend federal benefits to these immigrants with provisional legal status.

Meanwhile, overall opinion of the president’s health care law has titled toward the negative, with 42 percent of respondents saying they have unfavorable views of the law compared to 36 percent favorable, “a 7 percentage-point drop in favorability driven primarily by a post-election fade in support among Democrats,” the foundation said.

“With the presidential election in the rearview mirror and the ACA largely out of the national political spotlight,” it said, “the share of Democrat backing the law dropped from 72 percent in November to 57 percent, closer to October levels.”