Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) — After one career in the U.S. Air Force and another setting up banquet halls in Atlantic City casinos, Ronnie Downing found himself out of a job and medical benefits when the Revel hotel shut its doors this month.

He and hundreds of his colleagues turned to Obamacare.

As many as 400 people among 2,500 who signed up for a Sept 10 job fair in Atlantic City asked about enrolling in health coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, illustrating the law's potential safety-net role in an economy still buffeted by headwinds.

Before Obamacare, workers cut adrift when their employers closed shop had to rely on expensive temporary insurance, take their chances with private coverage or, most often, go without. Now, they can get federal subsidies designed to help low-income people pay for medical care, and insurers must allow them to enroll even with pre-existing medical conditions.

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