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These three paragraphs say everything about Obamacare

state fair
Would you like a side of Obamacare — I mean Kynect — with your curly fries? (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Huffington Post's Jason Cherkis spent two days at the Kentucky State Fair with workers from Kynect, the state's health marketplace. He came back with a better understanding of deep-fried Kool Aid ("funnel cake dough flavored with the powdered drink mix") and this fantastic anecdote.

 A middle-aged man in a red golf shirt shuffles up to a small folding table with gold trim, in a booth adorned with a flotilla of helium balloons, where government workers at the Kentucky State Fair are hawking the virtues of Kynect, the state’s health benefit exchange established by Obamacare.

The man is impressed. "This beats Obamacare I hope," he mutters to one of the workers.

“Do I burst his bubble?” wonders Reina Diaz-Dempsey, overseeing the operation. She doesn't. If he signs up, it's a win-win, whether he knows he's been ensnared by Obamacare or not.

This speaks to a point that others, particularly Jonathan Bernstein, have already made: When Americans actually interact with Obamacare, it won't be called Obamacare at all. In Kentucky, for example, it will be Kynect, the state health marketplace. In Idaho, local residents will purchase coverage from Your Health Idaho. Covered Oregon will serve (surprise!) Oregonians, while neighboring Washingtonians will purchase coverage from WAHealthPlanFinder. If you watch the ads that states have produced to support their marketplaces, they rarely mention the federal law that has set these changes in action.

This means it's entirely possible that, even as people start signing up for Obamacare, the program won't get much more popular at all, something Democrats have roundly expected. "If the ACA works as its sponsors hope, quite a lot of people — maybe the majority — who get their insurance from the exchanges will tell you that, no, they have private insurance," Bernstein wrote recently in the American Prospect.  "They aren’t getting anything from Obamacare."



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Evan Soltas · August 23, 2013

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