Uninsured Unaware of Obamacare Launch

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 28 2013 1:58 PM

Most Americans Have No Idea Obamacare Launches Next Week

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A physician with stethoscope poses on October 19, 2009 in Manassas, Virginia

Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Most of the uninsured in the United States have no idea that a new insurance marketplace that was a key part of health care reform is set to begin operating next week, according to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Two-thirds of the public don't know when the online marketplace would open. Even worse though, that number increases to three out of every four when only the uninsured are taken into account, details Kaiser Health News. Not surprisingly, most are dissatisfied with the media coverage, saying journalists have focused more on the politics of Obamacare than on how the reform would affect regular people.

It’s easy to see this news as disastrous for the White House, points out the Washington Post. After all, with more than three years to talk about the Affordable Care Act it seems like a big failure that the very people who could benefit from it seem to have no clue that it will soon become effective. But those who run the insurance marketplace say knowing the exact date of the launch isn’t really important since any purchased coverage won’t become effective until January anyway. And the big advertising push to get people to enroll will happen after the marketplaces are operational. After all, it's hard to get people interested in something that doesn't exist yet. Regardless though, the numbers seem to be, at the very least, a reminder of “the difficult task the White House is facing as it embarks on a six-month campaign to encourage people to sign up for insurance,” points out the Hill.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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