Blog author: jcarter
by on Friday, August 23, 2013

bait-switch-jpg_004208When a business advertises a particular product in a particular way but secretly delivers something different, it’s considered fraud. When a government agency advertises a particular product in a particular way but secretly delivers something different, it’s considered . . . what, a necessary evil?

Huffington Post’s Jason Cherkis spent two days at the Kentucky State Fair with workers from Kynect, the state’s health marketplace.

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.

Sarah Kliff, who approves(?) of this bait-and-switch, adds:

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.”

Caveat emptor, citizen.


  • Bill Hickman

    How is she advertising “one thing” and “delivering something different”? She’s accurately describing exactly what she’s promoting – a marketplace where insurers will compete for his business by offering quality health insurance plans.

    It’s interesting how he has apparently been primed to dislike Obamacare, but when he actually encounters the business end of it, he likes it. I think somebody is trying to pull the wool over his eyes, but it’s not the woman at the fair.

    Also, why “caveat emptor”? Are you expressing a general sentiment about insurance or a specific one about Obamacare? I assume you buy health insurance. If you met an uninsured person at the Kentucky fair, would you really discourage him from buying it?