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August 30, 2013 11:15 AM Is Obamacare Disappearing Already?

By Jonathan Bernstein

Talking Points Memo today has a nice collection of ads for the various health care exchanges. Except the word “exchanges” isn’t mentioned in the ones that I looked at. Nor are words such as “Obamacare.” Or “Affordable Care Act.” Or even “government.” A couple of them did hit on the word “affordable,” I suppose.

Which is as good an excuse as any to trot out again my claim that if the ACA works, it will disappear. That is, few will realize that they’ve had any interaction with “Obamacare” at all. They may be only marginally more aware of the government’s role in making health insurance affordable than most employees with good (government subsidized, through the tax code) employer-provided health insurance are now.

Seriously: watch a couple of the ads. How many people do you think will associate the Hawai’i Health Connector with Obamacare? I’m thinking no more than 10, 15%. Could be a lot less. Even, I’m guessing, when people actually go to the web site once it’s up.

Of course, the other half of this I’ve been talking about is that while the actual program disappears, the mythical one can live on, at least within the conservative information feedback loop.

And if things go wrong — whether it’s glitches with the software, or larger problems — then it won’t be invisible at all.

But mostly, I think the odds are that it will work reasonably well, and most people will wonder what ever happened to Obamacare.

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.
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