LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- 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.That's absolutely why Republicans are frantic to try to find a way to stop Obamacare from starting. As the message about its benefits get out, as people sign up and start receiving those benefits, they're going to forget all about being scared of it and they're going to like it.
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.
But it's not a slam-dunk, and the public education effort is key because Republican lies have taken hold with plenty of people. Erin Hoven, an outreach worker with Kentucky Voices for Health, and her efforts to do outreach and education on Obamacare faces those lies—repeated regularly by both of the state's Republican senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul—at every turn.
A woman Hoben had been working with in Hazard called her recently to tell her that the tea party had urged her not to enroll because the exchange wasn’t happening. [Hoben] went door to door with a free lunch program in Laurel County. She met a mother in a trailer, she recalls, who believed she was going to jail if she didn't sign up for insurance. What startled Hoben was that the mother seemed to just erroneously accept the potential jail time as a fact of life. "I quickly explained to her that was not going to happen," Hoben says.Will these people believe it when Hoben or others tell them that none of this stuff is true? Not until they see the lies be disproved and they see it start working. That gives Republicans in the states one more chance to defeat Obamacare: sabotage it at the state level in its implementation, like in the states where the new health care navigators, community workers hired under the law to help people navigate the new system, are being hindered by onerous new requirements and regulations.
Because the worst thing in the world for Republicans is having more people get affordable health care.